Infomotions, Inc.The Long Labrador Trail / Wallace, Dillon, 1863-1939



Author: Wallace, Dillon, 1863-1939
Title: The Long Labrador Trail
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): pete; easton; eskimos; lake; fort chimo; labrador; eskimo; nascaupee river; river; trail; lake nipishish; camp; snow; lake michikamau; bay; tent; groswater bay; indians; richards
Contributor(s): Bell, Clara, 1834-1927 [Translator]
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Title: The Long Labrador Trail

Author: Dillon Wallace

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E-text produced by Martin Schub







THE LONG LABRADOR TRAIL

by

DILLON WALLACE

Author of "The Lure of the Labrador Wild," etc.

Illustrated

MCMXVII






             TO THE
       MEMORY OF MY WIFE



  "A drear and desolate shore!
  Where no tree unfolds its leaves,
  And never the spring wind weaves
  Green grass for the hunter's tread;
  A land forsaken and dead,
  Where the ghostly icebergs go
  And come with the ebb and flow..."

  Whittier's "The Rock-tomb of Bradore."



PREFACE

In the summer of 1903 when Leonidas Hubbard, Jr., went to Labrador to
explore a section of the unknown interior it was my privilege to
accompany him as his companion and friend.  The world has heard of the
disastrous ending of our little expedition, and how Hubbard, fighting
bravely and heroically to the last, finally succumbed to starvation.

Before his death I gave him my promise that should I survive I would
write and publish the story of the journey.  In "The Lure of The
Labrador Wild" that pledge was kept to the best of my ability.

While Hubbard and I were struggling inland over those desolate wastes,
where life was always uncertain, we entered into a compact that in
case one of us fall the other would carry to completion the
exploratory work that he had planned and begun.  Providence willed
that it should become my duty to fulfil this compact, and the
following pages are a record of how it was done.

Not I, but Hubbard, planned the journey of which this book tells, and
from him I received the inspiration and with him the training and
experience that enabled me to succeed.  It was his spirit that led me
on over the wearisome trails, and through the rushing rapids, and to
him and to his memory belong the credit and the honor of success.

D. W.
February, 1907.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER
    I THE VOICE OF THE WILDERNESS
   II ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE UNKNOWN
  III THE LAST OF CIVILIZATION
  IV  ON THE OLD INDIAN TRAIL
   V  WE GO ASTRAY
  VI  LAKE NIPISHISH IS REACHED
 VII  SCOUTING FOR THE TRAIL
VIII  SEAL LAKE AT LAST
  IX  WE LOSE THE TRAIL
  X   "WE SEE MICHIKAMAU"
 XI   THE PARTING AT MICHIKAMAU
 XII  OVER THE NORTHERN DIVIDE
XIII  DISASTER IN THE RAPIDS
XIV   TIDE WATER AND THE POST
 XV   OFF WITH THE ESKIMOS
XVI   CAUGHT BY THE ARCTIC ICE
XVII  TO WHALE RIVER AND FORT CHIMO
XVIII THE INDIANS OF THE NORTH
XIX   THE ESKIMOS OF LABRADOR
XX    THE SLEDGE JOURNEY BEGUN
XXI   CROSSING THE BARRENS
XXII  ON THE ATLANTIC ICE
XXIII BACK TO NORTHWEST RIVER
XXIV  THE END OF THE LONG TRAIL
      APPENDIX



ILLUSTRATIONS

The Perils of the Rapids (in color, from a painting by Oliver Kemp)
Ice Encountered Off the Labrador Coast
"The Time For Action Had Come"
"Camp Was Moved to the First Small Lake"
"We Found a Long-disused Log Cache of the Indians"
Below Lake Nipishish
Through Ponds and Marshes Northward Toward Otter Lake
"We Shall Call the River Babewendigash"
"Pete, Standing by the Prostrate Caribou, Was Grinning From Ear to Ear"
"A Network of Lakes and the Country as Level as a Table"
Michikamau
"Writing Letters to the Home Folks"
"Our Lonely Perilous Journey Toward the Dismal Wastes ...Was Begun"
Abandoned Indian Camp On the Shore of Lake Michikamats
"One of the Wigwams Was a Large One and Oblong in Shape"
"At Last ...We Saw the Post"
"A Miserable Little Log Shack"
A Group of Eskimo Women
A Labrador Type
Eskimo Children
A Snow Igloo
The Silence of the North (in color, from a painting by Frederic C. Stokes)
"Nachvak Post of the Hudson's Bay Company".
"The Hills Grew Higher and Higher"
"We Turned Into a Pass Leading to the Northward"
The Moravian Mission at Ramah
"Plodding Southward Over the Endless Snow"
"Nain, the Moravian Headquarters in Labrador"
"The Indians Were Here"
Geological Specimens
Maps.





CHAPTER I

THE VOICE OF THE WILDERNESS

"It's always the way, Wallace!  When a fellow starts on the long
trail, he's never willing to quit.  It'll be the same with you if you
go with me to Labrador.  When you come home, you'll hear the voice of
the wilderness calling you to return, and it will lure you back
again."

It seems but yesterday that Hubbard uttered those prophetic words as
he and I lay before our blazing camp fire in the snow-covered
Shawangunk Mountains on that November night in the year 1901, and
planned that fateful trip into the unexplored Labrador wilderness
which was to cost my dear friend his life, and both of us
indescribable sufferings and hardships.  And how true a prophecy it
was!  You who have smelled the camp fire smoke; who have drunk in the
pure forest air, laden with the smell of the fir tree; who have dipped
your paddle into untamed waters, or climbed mountains, with the
knowledge that none but the red man has been there before you; or
have, perchance, had to fight the wilds and nature for your very
existence; you of the wilderness brotherhood can understand how the
fever of exploration gets into one's blood and draws one back again to
the forests and the barrens in spite of resolutions to "go no more."

It was more than this, however, that lured me back to Labrador.  There
was the vision of dear old Hubbard as I so often saw him during our
struggle through that rugged northland wilderness, wasted in form and
ragged in dress, but always hopeful and eager, his undying spirit and
indomitable will focused in his words to me, and I can still see him
as he looked when he said them:

"The work must be done, Wallace, and if one of us falls before it is
completed the other must finish it."

I went back to Labrador to do the work he had undertaken, but which he
was not permitted to accomplish.  His exhortation appealed to me as a
command from my leader--a call to duty.

Hubbard had planned to penetrate the Labrador peninsula from Groswater
Bay, following the old northern trail of the Mountaineer Indians from
Northwest River Post of the Hudson's Bay Company, situated on
Groswater Bay, one hundred and forty miles inland from the eastern
coast, to Lake Michikamau, thence through the lake and northward over
the divide, where he hoped to locate the headwaters of the George
River.

It was his intention to pass down this river until he reached the
hunting camps of the Nenenot or Nascaupee Indians, there witness the
annual migration of the caribou to the eastern seacoast, which
tradition said took place about the middle or latter part of
September, and to be present at the "killing," when the Indians, it
was reported, secured their winter's supply of provisions by spearing
the caribou while the herds were swimming the river.  The caribou hunt
over, he was to have returned across country to the St. Lawrence or
retrace his steps to Northwest River Post, whichever might seem
advisable.  Should the season, however, be too far advanced to permit
of a safe return, he was to have proceeded down the river to its
mouth, at Ungava Bay, and return to civilization in winter with dogs.

The country through which we were to have traveled was to be mapped so
far as possible, and observations made of the geological formation and
of the flora, and as many specimens collected as possible.

This, then, Hubbard's plan, was the plan which I adopted and which I
set out to accomplish, when, in March, 1905, I finally decided to
return to Labrador.

It was advisable to reach Hamilton Inlet with the opening of
navigation and make an early start into the country, for every
possible day of the brief summer would be needed for our purpose.

It was, as I fully realized, no small undertaking.  Many hundreds of
miles of unknown country must be traversed, and over mountains and
through marshes for long distances our canoes and outfit would have to
be transported upon the backs of the men comprising my party, as pack
animals cannot be used in Labrador.

Through immense stretches of country there would be no sustenance for
them, and, in addition to this, the character of the country itself
forbids their use.

The personnel of the expedition required much thought.  I might with
one canoe and one or two professional Indian packers travel more
rapidly than with men unused to exploration work, but in that case
scientific research would have to be slighted.  I therefore decided to
sacrifice speed to thoroughness and to take with me men who, even
though they might not be physically able to carry the large packs of
the professional voyageur, would in other respects lend valuable
assistance to the work in hand.

My projected return to Labrador was no sooner announced than numerous
applications came to me from young men anxious to join the expedition.
After careful investigation, I finally selected as my companions
George M. Richards, of Columbia University, as geologist and to aid me
in the topographical work, Clifford H. Easton, who had been a student
in the School of Forestry at Biltmore, North Carolina (both residents
of New York), and Leigh Stanton, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a veteran of
the Boer War, whom I had met at the lumber camps in Groswater Bay,
Labrador, in the winter of 1903-1904, when he was installing the
electric light plant in the large lumber mill there.

It was desirable to have at least one Indian in the party as woodsman,
hunter and general camp servant.  For this position my friend, Frank
H. Keefer, of Port Arthur, Ontario, recommended to me, and at my
request engaged, Peter Stevens, a full-blood Ojibway Indian, of Grand
Marais, Minnesota.  "Pete" arrived in New York under the wing of the
railway conductor during the last week in May.

In the meantime I had devoted myself to the selection and purchase of
our instruments and general outfit.  Everything must be purchased in
advance--from canoes to repair kit--as my former experience in
Labrador had taught me.  It may be of interest to mention the most
important items of outfit and the food supply with which we were
provided: Two canvas-covered canoes, one nineteen and one eighteen
feet in length; one seven by nine "A" tent, made of waterproof
"balloon" silk; one tarpaulin, seven by nine feet; folding tent stove
and pipe; two tracking lines; three small axes; cooking outfit, con-
sisting of two frying pans, one mixing pan and three aluminum kettles;
an aluminum plate, cup and spoon for each man; one .33 caliber high-
power Winchester rifle and two 44-40 Winchester carbines (only one of
these carbines was taken with us from New York, and this was intended
as a reserve gun in case the party should separate and return by
different routes.  The other was one used by Stanton when previously
in Labrador, and taken by him in addition to the regular outfit).  One
double barrel 12-gauge shotgun; two ten-inch barrel single shot .22
caliber pistols for partridges and small game; ammunition; tumplines;
three fishing rods and tackle, including trolling outfits; one three
and one-half inch gill net; repair kit, including necessary material
for patching canoes, clothing, etc.; matches, and a medicine kit.

The following instruments were also carried: Three minimum registering
thermometers; one aneroid barometer which was tested and set for me by
the United States Weather Bureau; one clinometer; one pocket transit;
three compasses; one pedometer; one taffrail log; one pair binoculars;
three No. 3A folding pocket Kodaks, sixty rolls of films, each roll
sealed in a tin can and waterproofed, and six "Vanguard" watches
mounted in dust-proof cases.

Each man was provided with a sheath knife and a waterproof match box,
and his personal kit, containing a pair of blankets and clothing, was
carried in a waterproof canvas bag.

I may say here in reference to these waterproof bags and the "balloon"
silk tent that they were of the same manufacture as those used on the
Hubbard expedition and for their purpose as nearly perfect as it is
possible to make them.  The tent weighed but nine pounds, was
windproof, and, like the bags, absolutely waterproof, and the,
material strong and firm.

Our provision supply consisted of 298 pounds of pork; 300 pounds of
flour; 45 pounds of corn meal; 40 pounds of lentils; 28 pounds of
rice; 25 pounds of erbswurst; 10 pounds of prunes; a few packages of
dried vegetables; some beef bouillon tablets; 6 pounds of baking
powder; 16 pounds of tea; 6 pounds of coffee; 15 pounds of sugar; 14
pounds of salt; a small amount of saccharin and crystallose, and 150
pounds of pemmican.

Everything likely to be injured by water was packed in waterproof
canvas bags.

My friend Dr. Frederick A. Cook, of the Arctic Club, selected my
medical kit, and instructed me in the use of its simple remedies.  It
was also upon the recommendation of Dr. Cook and others of my Arctic
Club friends that I purchased the pemmican, which was designed as an
emergency ration, and it is worth noting that one pound of pemmican,
as our experience demonstrated, was equal to two or even three pounds
of any other food that we carried.  Its ingredients are ground dried
beef, tallow, sugar, raisins and currants.

We had planned to go north from St. Johns on the Labrador mail boat
_Virginia Lake_, which, as I had been informed by the Reid-
Newfoundland Company, was expected to sail from St. Johns on her first
trip on or about June tenth.  This made it necessary for us to leave
New York on the Red Cross Line steamer _Rosalind_ sailing from
Brooklyn on May thirtieth; and when, at eleven-thirty that Tuesday
morning, the _Rosalind_ cast loose from her wharf, we and our outfit
were aboard, and our journey of eleven long months was begun.

As I waved farewell to our friends ashore I recalled that other day
two years before, when Hubbard and I had stood on the _Silvia's_ deck,
and I said to myself:

"Well, this, too, is Hubbard's trip.  His spirit is with me.  It was
he, not I, who planned this Labrador work, and if I succeed it will be
because of him and his influence."

I was glad to be away.  With every throb of the engine my heart grew
lighter.  I was not thinking of the perils I was to face with my new
companions in that land where Hubbard and I had suffered so much.  The
young men with me were filled with enthusiasm at the prospect of
adventure in the silent and mysterious country for which they were
bound.



CHAPTER II

ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE UNKNOWN

"When shall we reach Rigolet, Captain?"

"Before daylight, I hopes, sir, if the fog holds off, but there's a
mist settling, and if it gets too thick, we may have to come to."

Crowded with an unusual cargo of humanity, fishermen going to their
summer work on "The Labrador" with their accompanying tackle and
household goods, meeting with many vexatious delays in discharging the
men and goods at the numerous ports of call, and impeded by fog and
wind, the mail boat _Virginia Lake_ had been much longer than is her
wont on her trip "down north."

It was now June twenty-first.  Six days before (June fifteenth), when
we boarded the ship at St. Johns we had been informed that the steamer
_Harlow_, with a cargo for the lumber mills at Kenemish, in Groswater
Bay, was to leave Halifax that very afternoon.  She could save us a
long and disagreeable trip in an open boat, ninety miles up Groswater
Bay, and I bad hoped that we might reach Rigolet in time to secure a
passage for myself and party from that point.  But the _Harlow_ had no
ports of call to make, and it was predicted that her passage from
Halifax to Rigolet would be made in four days.

I had no hope now of reaching Rigolet before her, or of finding her
there, and, resigned to my fate, I left the captain on the bridge and
went below to my stateroom to rest until daylight.  Some time in the
night I was aroused by some one saying:

"We're at Rigolet, sir, and there's a ship at anchor close by."

Whether I had been asleep or not, I was fully awake now, and found
that the captain had come to tell me of our arrival.  The fog had held
off and we had done much better than the captain's prediction.
Hurrying into my clothes, I went on deck, from which, through the
slight haze that hung over the water, I could discern the lights of a
ship, and beyond, dimly visible, the old familiar line of Post
buildings showing against the dark spruce-covered hills behind, where
the great silent forest begins.

All was quiet save for the thud, thud, thud of the oarlocks of a small
boat approaching our ship and the dismal howl of a solitary "husky"
dog somewhere ashore.  The captain had preceded me on deck, and in
answer to my inquiries as to her identity said he did not know whether
the stranger at anchor was the _Harlow_ or not, but he thought it was.

We had to wait but a moment, however, for the information.  The small
boat was already alongside, and John Groves, a Goose Bay trader and
one of my friends of two years before, clambered aboard and had me by
the hand.

"I'm glad to see you, sir; and how is you?"

Assuring him that I was quite well, I asked the name of the other
ship.

"The _Harlow_, sir, an' she's goin' to Kenemish with daylight."

"Well, I must get aboard of her then, and try to get a passage up.  Is
your flat free, John, to take me aboard of her?"

"Yes, sir.  Step right in, sir.  But I thinks you'd better go ashore,
for the _Harlow's_ purser's ashore.  If you can't get passage on the
_Harlow_ my schooner's here doing nothin' while I goes to St. Johns
for goods, and I'll have my men run you up to Nor'west River."

I thanked him and lost no time in going ashore in his boat, where I
found Mr. James Fraser, the factor, and received a hearty welcome.  In
Mr. Fraser's office I found also the purser of the _Harlow_, and I
quickly arranged with him for a passage to Kenemish, which is ninety
miles up the inlet, and just across Groswater Bay (twelve miles) from
Northwest River Post.  The _Harlow_ was to sail at daylight and I at
once returned to the mail boat, called the boys and, with the help of
the _Virginia's_ crew and one of their small boats, we were
transferred, bag and baggage, to the _Harlow_.

Owing to customs complications the _Harlow_ was later than expected in
leaving Rigolet, and it was evening before she dropped anchor at
Kenemish.  I went ashore in the ship's boat and visited again the
lumber camp "cook house" where Dr. Hardy and I lay ill throng those
weary winter weeks, and where poor Hardy died.  Hardy was the young
lumber company doctor who treated my frozen feet in the winter of
1903-1904.  Here I met Fred Blake, a Northwest River trapper.  Fred
had his flat, and I engaged him to take a part of our luggage to
Northwest River.  Then I returned to the ship to send the boys ahead
with the canoes and some of our baggage, while I waited behind to
follow with Fred and the rest of the kit in his flat a half hour
later.

Fred and I were hardly a mile from the ship when a heavy thunderstorm
broke upon us, and we were soon drenching wet--the baptism of our
expedition.  This rain was followed by a dense fog and early darkness.
On and on we rowed, and I was berating myself for permitting the men
to go on so far ahead of us with the canoes, for they did not know the
way and the fog had completely shut out the lights of the Post
buildings, which otherwise would have been visible across the bay for
a considerable distance.

Suddenly through the fog and darkness, from shoreward, came a "Hello!
Hello!"  We answered, and heading our boat toward the sound of
continued "Hellos," found the men, with the canoes unloaded and hauled
ashore, preparing to make a night camp.  I joined them and, launching
and reloading the canoes again, with Richards and Easton in one canoe
and Pete and I in the other, we followed Fred and Stanton, who
preceded us in the rowboat, keeping our canoes religiously within
earshot of Fred's thumping oarlocks.  Finally the fog lifted, and not
far away we caught a glimmer of lights at the French Post.  All was
dark at the Hudson Bay Post across the river when at last our canoes
touched the sandy beach and we sprang ashore.

What a flood of remembrances came to me as I stepped again upon the
old familiar ground!  How vividly I remembered that June day when
Hubbard and I had first set foot on this very ground and Mackenzie had
greeted us so cordially!  And also that other day in November when,
ragged and starved, I came here to tell of Hubbard, lying dead in the
dark forest beyond!  The same dogs that I had known then came running
to meet us now, the faithful fellows with which I began that sad
funeral journey homeward over the ice.  I called some of them by name
"Kumalik," "Bo'sun," "Captain," "Tinker"--and they pushed their great
heads against my legs and, I believe, recognized me.

It was nearly two o'clock in the morning.  We went immediately to the
Post house and roused out Mr. Stuart Cotter, the agent (Mackenzie is
no longer there), and received from him a royal welcome.  He called
his Post servant and instructed him to bring in our things, and while
we changed our dripping clothes for dry ones, his housekeeper prepared
a light supper.  It was five o'clock in the morning when I retired.

In the previous autumn I had written Duncan McLean, one of the four
men who came to my rescue on the Susan River, that should I ever come
to Labrador again and be in need of a man I would like to engage him.
Cotter told me that Duncan had just come from his trapping path and
was at the Post kitchen, so when we had finished breakfast, at eight
o'clock that morning, I saw Duncan and, as he was quite willing to go
with us, I arranged with him to accompany us a short distance into the
country to help us pack over the first portage and to bring back
letters.

He expressed a wish to visit his father at Kenemish before starting
into the country, but promised to be back the next evening ready for
the start on Monday morning, the twenty-sixth, and I consented.  I
knew hard work was before us, and as I wished all hands to be well
rested and fresh at the outset, I felt that a couple of days' idleness
would do us no harm.

Some five hundred yards east of Mr. Cotter's house is an old,
abandoned mission chapel, and behind it an Indian burying ground.  The
cleared space of level ground between the house and chapel was, for a
century or more, the camping ground of the Mountaineer Indians who
come to the Post each spring to barter or sell their furs.  In the
olden time there were nearly a hundred families of them, whose hunting
ground was that section of country between Hamilton Inlet and the
Upper George River.

These people now, for the most part, hunt south of the inlet and trade
at the St. Lawrence Posts.  The chapel was erected about 1872, but ten
years ago the Jesuit missionary was withdrawn, and since then the
building has fallen into decay and ruin, and the crosses that marked
the graves in the old burying grounds have been broken down by the
heavy winter snows.  It was this withdrawal of the missionary that
turned the Indians to the southward, where priests are more easily
found.  The Mountaineer Indian, unlike the Nascaupee, is very
religious, and must, at least once a year, meet his father confessor.
The camping ground since the abandonment of the mission, has lain
lonely and deserted, save for three or four families who, occasionally
in the summer season, come back again to pitch their tents where their
forefathers camped and held their annual feasts in the old days.

Competition between the trading companies at this point has raised the
price of furs to such an extent that the few families of Indians that
trade at this Post are well-to-do and very independent.  There were
two tents of them here when we arrived--five men and several women and
children.  I found two of my old friends there--John and William
Ahsini.  They expressed pleasure in meeting me again, and a lively
interest in our trip.  With Mr. Cotter acting as interpreter, John
made for me a map of the old Indian trail from Grand Lake to Seal
Lake, and William a map to Lake Michikamau and over the height of land
to the George River, indicating the portages and principal intervening
lakes as they remembered them.

Seal Lake is a large lake expansion of the Nascaupee River, which
river, it should be explained, is the outlet of Lake Michikamau and
discharges its waters into Grand Lake and through Grand Lake into
Groswater Bay.  Lake Michikamau, next to Lake Mistasinni, is the larg-
est lake in the Labrador peninsula, and approximately from eighty to
ninety miles in length.  Neither John nor William had been to Lake
Michikamau by this route since they were young lads, but they told us
that the Indians, when traveling very light without their families,
used to make the journey in twenty-three days.

During my previous stay in Labrador one Indian told me it could be
done in ten days, while another said that Indians traveling very fast
would require about thirty days.  It is difficult to base calculations
upon information of this kind.  But I was sure that, with our com-
paratively heavy outfit, and the fact that we would have to find the
trail for ourselves, we should require at least twice the time of the
Indians, who know every foot of the way as we know our familiar city
streets at home.

They expressed their belief that the old trail could be easily found,
and assured us that each portage, as we asked about it in detail, was
a "miam potagan" (good portage), but at the same time expressed their
doubts as to our ability to cross the country safely.

In fact, it has always been the Indians' boast, and I have heard it
many times, that no white man could go from Groswater Bay to Ungava
alive without Indians to help him through.  "Pete" was a Lake Superior
Indian and had never run a rapid in his life.  He was to spend the
night with Tom Blake and his family in their snug little log cabin,
and be ready for an early start up Grand Lake on the morrow.  It was
Tom that headed the little party sent by me up the Susan Valley to
bring to the Post Hubbard's body in March, 1904; and it was through
his perseverance, loyalty and hard work at the time that I finally
succeeded in recovering the body.  Tom's daughter, Lillie, was
Mackenzie's little housekeeper, who showed me so many kindnesses then.
The whole family, in fact, were very good to me during those trying
days, and I count them among my true and loyal friends.

We had supper with Cotter, who sang some Hudson's Bay songs, Richards
sang a jolly college song or two, Stanton a "classic," and then all
who could sing joined in "Auld Lang Syne."

My thoughts were of that other day, when Hubbard, so full of hope, had
begun this same journey-of the sunshine and fleecy clouds and
beckoning fir tops, and I wondered what was in store for us now.



CHAPTER III

THE LAST OF CIVILIZATION

The time for action had come.  Our canoes were loaded near the wharf,
we said good-by to Cotter and a group of native trapper friends, and
as we took our places in the canoes and dipped our paddles into the
waters that were to carry us northward the Post flag was run up on the
flagpole as a salute and farewell, and we were away.  We soon rounded
the point, and Cotter and the trappers and the Post were lost to view.
Duncan was to follow later in the evening in his rowboat with some of
our outfit which we left in his charge.

Silently we paddled through the "little lake." The clouds hung somber
and dull with threatening rain, and a gentle breeze wafted to us now
and again a bit of fragrance from the spruce-covered hills above us.
Almost before I realized it we were at the rapid.  Away to the
westward stretched Grand Lake, deep and dark and still, with the
rugged outline of Cape Corbeau in the distance.

Tom Blake and his family, one and all, came out to give us the whole-
souled, hospitable welcome of "The Labrador." Even Atikamish, the
little Indian dog that Mackenzie used to have, but which he had given
to Tom when he left Northwest River, was on hand to tell me in his dog
language that he remembered me and was delighted to see me back.  Here
we would stay for the night--the last night for months that we were to
sleep in a habitation of civilized man.

The house was a very comfortable little log dwelling containing a
small kitchen, a larger living-room which also served as a sleeping-
room, and an attic which was the boys' bedroom.  The house was
comfortably furnished, everything clean to perfection, and the atmos-
phere of love and home that dwelt here was long remembered by us while
we huddled in many a dreary camp during the weeks that followed.

Duncan did not come that night, and it was not until ten o'clock the
next morning (June twenty-seventh) that he appeared.  Then we made
ready for the start.  Tom and his young son Henry announced their
intention of accompanying us a short distance up Grand Lake in their
small sailboat.  Mrs. Blake gave us enough bread and buns, which she
had baked especially for us, to last two or three days, and she gave
us also a few fresh eggs, saying, "'Twill be a long time before you
has eggs again."

At half-past ten o'clock our canoes were afloat, farewell was said,
and we were beyond the last fringe of civilization.

The morning was depressing and the sky was overcast with low-hanging,
heavy clouds, but almost with our start, as if to give us courage for
our work and fire our blood, the leaden curtain was drawn aside and
the deep blue dome of heaven rose above us.  The sun shone warm and
bright, and the smell of the fresh damp forest, the incense of the
wilderness gods, was carried to us by a puff of wind from the south
which enabled Duncan to hoist his sails.  The rest of us bent to our
paddles, and all were eager to plunge into the unknown and solve the
mystery of what lay beyond the horizon.

Our nineteen-foot canoe was manned by Pete in the bow, Stanton in the
center and Easton in the stern, while I had the bow and Richards the
stern of the eighteen-foot canoe.  We paddled along the north shore of
the lake, close to land.  Stanton, with an eye for fresh meat, espied
a porcupine near the water's edge and stopped to kill it, thus gaining
the honor of having bagged the first game of the trip.  At twelve
o'clock we halted for luncheon, in almost the same spot where Hubbard
and I had lunched when going up Grand Lake two years before.  While
Pete cooked bacon and eggs and made tea, Stanton and Richards dressed
the porcupine for supper.

After luncheon we cut diagonally across the lake to the southern
shore, passed Cape Corbeau River and landed near the base of Cape
Corbeau bluff, that the elevation might be taken and geological
specimens secured.  After making our observations we turned again
toward the northern shore, where more specimens were collected.  Here
Tom and Henry Blake said goodby to us and turned homeward.

During the afternoon Stanton and I each killed a porcupine, making
three in all for the day--a good beginning in the matter of game.

At sunset we landed at Watty's Brook, a small stream flowing into
Grand Lake from the north, and some twenty miles above the rapid.  Our
progress during the day had been slow, as the wind had died away and
we had, several times, to wait for Duncan to overtake us in his slower
rowboat.

While the rest of us "made camp" Duncan cut wood for a rousing fire,
as the evening was cool, and Pete put a porcupine to boil for supper.
We were a hungry crowd when we sat down to eat.  I had told the boys
how good porcupine was, how it resembled lamb and what a treat we were
to have.  But all porcupines are not alike, and this one was not
within my reckoning.  Tough!  He was certainly "the oldest
inhabitant," and after vain efforts to chew the leathery meat, we
turned in disgust to bread and coffee, and Easton, at least, lost
faith forever in my judgment of toothsome game, and formed a
particular prejudice against porcupines which he never overcame.  Pete
assured us, however, that, "This porcupine, he must boil long.  I boil
him again to-night and boil him again to-morrow morning.  Then he very
good for breakfast.  Porcupine fine.  Old one must be cooked long."

So Pete, after supper, put the porcupine on to cook some more,
promising that we should find it nice and tender for breakfast.

As I sat that night by the low-burning embers of our first camp fire I
forgot my new companions.  Through the gathering night mists I could
just discern the dim outlines of the opposite shore of Grand Lake.  It
was over there, just west of that high spectral bluff, that Hubbard
and I, on a wet July night, had pitched our first camp of the other
trip.  In fancy I was back again in that camp and Hubbard was talking
to me and telling me of the "bully story" of the mystic land of won-
ders that lay "behind the ranges" he would have to take back to the
world.

"We're going to traverse a section no white man has ever seen," he
exclaimed, "and we'll add something to the world's knowledge of
geography at least, and that's worth while.  No matter how little a
man may add to the fund of human knowledge it's worth the doing, for
it's by little bits that we've learned to know so much of our old
world.  There's some hard work before us, though, up there in those
hills, and some hardships to meet."

Ah, if we had only known!

Some one said it was time to "turn in," and I was brought suddenly to
a sense of the present, but a feeling of sadness possessed me when I
took my place in the crowded tent, and I lay awake long, thinking of
those other days.

Clear and crisp was the morning of June twenty-eighth.  The atmosphere
was bracing and delightful, the azure of the sky above us shaded to
the most delicate tints of blue at the horizon, and, here and there,
bits of clouds, like bunches of cotton, flecked the sky.  The sun
broke grandly over the rugged hills, and the lake, like molten silver,
lay before us.

A fringe of ice had formed during the night along the shore.  We broke
it and bathed our hands and faces in the cool water, then sat down in
a circle near our camp fire to renew our attack upon the porcupine,
which had been sending out a most delicious odor from the kettle where
Pete had it cooking.  But alas for our expectations!  Our teeth would
make no impression upon it, and Easton remarked that "the rubber trust
ought to hunt porcupines, for they are a lot tougher than rubber and
just as pliable."

"I don't know why," said Pete sadly.  "I boil him long time."

That day we continued our course along the northern shore of the lake
until we reached the deep bay which Hubbard and I had failed to enter
and explore on the other trip, and which failure had resulted so
tragically.  This bay is some five miles from the westerly end of
Grand Lake, and is really the mouth of the Nascaupee and Crooked
Rivers which flow into the upper end of it.  There was little or no
wind and we had to go slowly to permit Duncan, in his rowboat, to keep
pace with us.  Darkness was not far off when we reached Duncan's tilt
(a small log hut), three miles up the Nascaupee River, where we
stopped for the night.

This is the tilt in which Allen Goudy and Duncan lived at the time
they came to my rescue in 1903, and where I spent three days getting
strength for my trip down Grand Lake to the Post.  It is Duncan's sup-
ply base in the winter months when he hunts along the Nascaupee River,
one hundred and twenty miles inland to Seal Lake.  On this hunting
"path" Duncan has two hundred and fifty marten and forty fox traps,
and, in the spring, a few bear traps besides.

The country has been burned here.  Just below Duncan's tilt is a
spruce-covered island, but the mainland has a stunted new growth of
spruce, with a few white birch, covering the wreck of the primeval
forest that was flame swept thirty odd years ago.  Over some
considerable areas no new growth to speak of has appeared, and the
charred remains of the dead trees stand stark and gray, or lie about
in confusion upon the ground, giving the country a particularly dreary
and desolate appearance.

The morning of June twenty-ninth was overcast and threatened rain, but
toward evening the sky cleared.

Progress was slow, for the current in the river here was very strong,
and paddling or rowing against it was not easy.  We had to stop
several times and wait for Duncan to overtake us with his boat.  Once
he halted to look at a trap where he told us he had caught six black
bears.  It was nearly sunset when we reached the mouth of the Red
River, nineteen miles above Grand Lake, where it flows into the
Nascaupee from the west.  This is a wide, shallow stream whose red-
brown waters were quite in contrast to the clear waters of the Nas-
caupee.

Opposite the mouth of the Red River, and on the eastern shore of the
Nascaupee, is the point where the old Indian trail was said to begin,
and on a knoll some fifty feet above the river we saw the wigwam poles
of an old Indian camp, and a solitary grave with a rough fence around
it.  Here we landed and awaited Duncan, who had stopped at another of
his trapping tilts three or four hundred yards below.  When he joined
us a little later, in answer to my inquiry as to whether this was the
beginning of the old trail, he answered, "'Tis where they says the
Indians came out, and some of the Indians has told me so.  I supposes
it's the place, sir."

"But have you never hunted here yourself?" I asked.

"No, sir, I've never been in here at all.  I travels right past up the
Nascaupee.  All I knows about it, sir, is what they tells me.  I
always follows the Nascaupee, sir."

Above us rose a high, steep hill covered for two-thirds of the way
from its base with a thick growth of underbrush, but quite barren on
top save for a few bunches of spruce brush.

The old trail, unused for eight or ten years, headed toward the hill
and was quite easily traced for some fifty yards from the old camp.
Then it disappeared completely in a dense undergrowth of willows,
alders and spruce.

While Pete made preparation for our supper and Duncan unloaded his
boat and hauled it up preparatory to leaving it until his return from
the interior, the rest of us tried to follow the trail through the
brush.  But beyond where the thick undergrowth began there was nothing
at all that, to us, resembled a trail.  Finally, I instructed Pete to
go with Richards and see what he could do while the rest of us made
camp.  Pete started ahead, forging his way through the thick growth.
In ten minutes I heard him shout from the hillside, "He here--I find
him," and saw Pete hurrying up the steep incline.

When Richards and Pete returned an hour later we had camp pitched and
supper cooking.  They reported the trail, as far as they had gone,
very rough and hard to find.  For some distance it would have to be
cut out with an ax, and nowhere was it bigger than a rabbit run.
Duncan rather favored going as far, as Seal Lake by the trail that he
knew and which followed the Nascaupee.  This trail he believed to be
much easier than the long unused Indian trail, which was undoubtedly
in many places entirely obscured and in any case extremely difficult
to follow.  I dismissed his suggestion, however, with little
consideration.  My, object was to trace the old Indian trail and
explore as much of the country as possible, and not to hide myself in
an enclosed river valley.  Therefore, I decided that next day we
should scout ahead to the first water to which the trail led and cut
out the trail where necessary.  The work I knew would be hard, but we
were expecting to do hard work.  We were not on a summer picnic.

A rabbit which Stanton had shot and a spruce grouse that fell before
Pete's pistol, together with what remained of our porcupine, hot
coffee, and Mrs. Blake's good bread, made a supper that we ate with
zest while we talked over the prospects of the trail.  Supper fin-
ished, Pete carefully washed his dishes, then carefully washed his
dishcloth, which latter he hung upon a bough near the fire to dry.
His cleanliness about his cooking was a revelation to me.  I had never
before seen a camp man or guide so neat in this respect.

The real work of the trip was now to begin, the hard portaging, the
trail finding and trail making, and we were to break the seal of a
land that had, through the ages, held its secret from all the world,
excepting the red man.  This is what we were thinking of when we
gathered around our camp fire that evening, and filled and lighted our
pipes and puffed silently while we watched the newborn stars of
evening come into being one by one until the arch of heaven was aglow
with the splendor of a Labrador night.  And when we at length went to
our bed of spruce boughs it was to dream of strange scenes and new
worlds that we were to conquer.



CHAPTER IV

ON THE OLD INDIAN TRAIL

Next morning we scouted ahead and found that the trail led to a small
lake some five and a half miles beyond our camp.  For a mile or so the
brush was pretty thick and the trail was difficult to follow, but
beyond that it was comparatively well defined though exceedingly
steep, the hill rising to an elevation of one thousand and fifty feet
above the Nascaupee River in the first two miles.  We had fifteen
hundred pounds of outfit to carry upon our backs, and I realized that
at first we should have to trail slowly and make several loads of it,
for, with the exception of Pete, none of the men was in training.  The
work was totally different from anything to which they had been
accustomed, and as I did not wish to break their spirits or their
ardor, I instructed them to carry only such packs as they could walk
under with perfect ease until they should become hardened to the work.

The weather had been cool and bracing, but as if to add to our
difficulties the sun now boiled down, and the black flies--"the
devil's angels" some one called them, came in thousands to feast upon
the newcomers and make life miserable for us all.  Duncan was as badly
treated by them as any of us, although he belonged to the country, and
I overheard him swearing at a lively gait soon after the little beasts
began their attacks.

"Why, Duncan," said I, "I didn't know you swore."

"I does, sir, sometimes--when things makes me," he replied.

"But it doesn't help matters any to swear, does it?"

"No, sir, but" (swatting his face) "damn the flies--it's easin' to the
feelin's to swear sometimes."

On several occasions after this I heard Duncan "easin' his feelin's"
in long and astounding bursts of profane eloquence, but he did try to
moderate his language when I was within earshot.  Once I asked him:

"Where in the world did you learn to swear like that, Duncan?"

"At the lumber camps, sir," he replied.

In the year I had spent in Labrador I had never before heard a planter
or native of Groswater Bay swear.  But this explained it.  The
lumbermen from "civilization" were educating them.

At one o'clock on July first, half our outfit was portaged to the
summit of the hill and we ate our dinner there in the broiling sun,
for we were above the trees, which ended some distance below us.  It
was fearfully hot--a dead, suffocating heat--with not a breath of wind
to relieve the stifling atmosphere, and some one asked what the
temperature was.

"Eighty-seven in the shade, but no shade," Richards remarked as he
threw down his pack and consulted the thermometer where I had placed
it under a low bush.  "I'll swear it's a hundred and fifty in the
sun."

During dinner Pete pointed to the river far below us, saying, "Look!
Indian canoe."  I could not make it out without my binoculars, but
with their aid discerned a canoe on the river, containing a solitary
paddler.  None of us, excepting Pete, could see the canoe without the
glasses, at which he was very proud and remarked: "No findin' glass
need me.  See far, me.  See long way off."

On other occasions, afterward, I had reason to marvel at Pete's
clearness of vision.

It was John Ahsini in the canoe, as we discovered later when he joined
us and helped Stanton up the hill with his last pack to our night camp
on the summit.  I invited John to eat supper with us and he accepted
the invitation.  He told us he was hunting "moshku" (bear) and was
camped at the mouth of the Red River.  He assured us that we would
find no more hills like this one we were on, and, pointing to the
northward, said, "Miam potagan" (good portage) and that we would find
plenty "atuk" (caribou), "moshku" and "mashumekush" (trout).  After
supper I gave John some "stemmo," and he disappeared down the trail to
join his wife in their wigwam below.

We were all of us completely exhausted that night.  Stanton was too
tired to eat, and lay down upon the bare rocks to sleep.  Pete
stretched our tent wigwam fashion on some old Indian tepee poles, and,
without troubling ourselves to break brush for a bed, we all soon
joined Stanton in a dreamless slumber upon his rocky couch.

The night, like the day, was very warm, and when I aroused Pete at
sunrise the next morning (July second) to get breakfast the mosquitoes
were about our heads in clouds.

A magnificent panorama lay before us.  Opposite, across the valley of
the Nascaupee, a great hill held its snow-tipped head high in the
heavens.  Some four miles farther up to the northwest, the river
itself, where it was choked with blocks of ice, made its appearance
and threaded its way down to the southeast until it was finally lost
in the spruce-covered valley.  Beyond, bits of Grand Lake, like silver
settings in the black surrounding forest, sparkled in the light of the
rising sun.  Away to the westward could be traced the rushing waters
of the Red River making their course down through the sandy ridges
that enclose its valley.  To the northward lay a great undulating
wilderness, the wilderness that we were to traverse.  It was Sunday
morning, and the holy stillness of the day engulfed our world.

When Pete had the fire going and the kettle singing I roused the boys
and told them we would make this, our first Sunday in the bush, an
easy one, and simply move our camp forward to a more hospitable and
sheltered spot by a little brook a mile up the trail, and then be
ready for the "tug of war" on Monday.

In accordance with this plan, after eating our breakfast we each
carried a light pack to our new camping ground, and there pitched our
tent by a tiny brook that trickled down through the rocks.  While
Stanton cooked dinner, Pete brought forward a second pack.  After we
had eaten, Richards suggested to Pete that they take the fish net
ahead and set it in the little lake which was still some two and a
half miles farther on the trail.  They had just returned when a
terrific thunderstorm broke upon us, and every moment we expected the
tent to be carried away by the gale that accompanied the downpour of
rain.  It was then that Richards remembered that he had left his
blankets to dry upon the tepee poles at the last camp.  The rain
ceased about five o'clock, and Duncan volunteered to return with
Richards and help him recover his blankets, which they found far from
dry.

Mosquitoes, it seemed to me, were never so numerous or vicious as
after this thunderstorm.  We had head nets that were a protection from
them generally, but when we removed the nets to eat, the attacks of
the insects were simply insufferable, so we had our supper in the
tent.  After our meal was finished and Pete had washed the dishes, I
read aloud a chapter from the Bible--a Sunday custom that was
maintained throughout the trip--and Stanton sang some hymns.  Then we
prevailed upon him to entertain us with other songs.  He had an
excellent tenor voice and a repertoire ranging from "The Holy City" to
"My Brother Bob," and these and some of the old Scotch ballads, which
he sang well, were favorites that he was often afterward called upon
to render as we gathered around our evening camp fire, smoking our
pipes and drinking in the tonic fragrance of the great solemn forest
around us after a day of hard portaging.  These impromptu concerts,
story telling, and reading aloud from two or three "vest pocket"
classics that I carried, furnished our entertainment when we were not
too tired to be amused.

The rain cleared the atmosphere, and Monday was cool and delightful,
and, with the exception of two or three showers, a perfect day.  Camp
was moved and our entire outfit portaged to the first small lake.  Our
net, which Pete and Richards had set the day before, yielded us
nothing, but with my rod I caught enough trout for a sumptuous supper.

The following morning (July fourth) Pete and I, who arose at half-past
four, had just finished preparing breakfast of fried pork, flapjacks
and coffee, and I had gone to the tent to call the others, when Pete
came rushing after me in great excitement, exclaiming, "Caribou!
Rifle quick!" He grabbed one of the 44's and rushed away and soon we
heard bang-bang-bang seven times from up the lake shore.  It was not
long before Pete returned with a very humble bearing and crestfallen
countenance, and without a word leaned the rifle against a tree and
resumed his culinary operations.

"Well, Pete," said I, "how many caribou did you kill?"

"No caribou.  Miss him," he replied.

"But I heard seven shots.  How did you miss so many times?" I asked.

"Miss him," answered Pete.  "I see caribou over there, close to water,
run fast, try get lee side so he don't smell me.  Water in way.  Go
very careful, make no noise, but he smell me.  He hold his head up
like this.  He sniff, then he start.  He go through trees very quick.
See him, me, just little when he runs through trees.  Shoot seven
times.  Hit him once, not much.  He runs off.  No good follow.  Not
hurt much, maybe goes very far."

"You had caribou fever, Pete," suggested Richards.

"Yes," said Easton, "caribou fever, sure thing."

"I don't believe you'd have hit him if he hadn't winded you," Stanton
remarked.  "The trouble with you, Pete, is you can't shoot."

"No caribou fever, me," rejoined Pete, with righteous indignation at
such a suggestion.  "Kill plenty moose, kill red deer; never have
moose fever, never have deer fever." Then turning to me he asked, "You
want caribou, Mr. Wallace?"

"Yes," I answered, "I wish we could get some fresh meat, but we can
wait a few days.  We have enough to eat, and I don't want to take time
to hunt now."

"Plenty signs.  I get caribou any day you want him.  Tell me when you
want him, I kill him," Pete answered me, ignoring the criticisms of
the others as to his marksmanship and hunting prowess.  All that day
and all the next the men let no opportunity pass to guy Pete about his
lost caribou, and on the whole he took the banter very good-naturedly,
but once confided to me that "if those boys get up early, maybe they
see caribou too and try how much they can do."

After breakfast Pete and I paddled to the other end of the little lake
to pick up the trail while the others broke camp.  In a little while
he located it, a well-defined path, and we walked across it half a
mile to another and considerably larger lake in which was a small,
round, moundlike, spruce-covered island so characteristic of the
Labrador lakes.

On our way back to the first lake Pete called my attention to a fresh
caribou track in the hard earth.  It was scarcely distinguishable, and
I had to look very closely to make it out.  Then he showed me other
signs that I could make nothing of at all--a freshly turned pebble or
broken twig.  These, he said, were fresh deer signs.  A caribou had
passed toward the larger lake that very morning.

"If you want him, I get him," said Pete.  I could see he felt rather
deeply his failure of the morning and that he was anxious to redeem
himself.  I wanted to give him the opportunity to do so, especially as
the young men, unused to deprivations, were beginning to crave fresh
meat as a relief from the salt pork.  At the same time, however, I
felt that the fish we were pretty certain to get from this time on
would do very well for the present, and I did not care to take time to
hunt until we were a little deeper into the country.  Therefore I told
him, "No, we will wait a day or two."

Pete, as I soon discovered, had an insatiable passion for hunting, and
could never let anything in the way of game pass him without qualms of
regret.  Sometimes, where a caribou trail ran off plain and clear in
the moss, it was hard to keep from running after it.  Nothing ever
escaped his ear or eye.  He had the trained senses and instincts of
the Indian hunter.  When I first saw him in New York he looked so
youthful and evidently had so little confidence in himself, answering
my question as to whether he could do this or that with an aggravating
"I don't know," that I felt a keen sense of disappointment in him.
But with every stage of our journey he had developed, and now was in
his element.  He was quite a different individual from the green
Indian youth whom I had first seen walking timidly beside the railway
conductor at the Grand Central Station in New York.

The portage between the lakes was an easy one and, as I have said,
well defined, and we reached the farther shore of the second lake
early in the afternoon.  Here we found an old Indian camping ground
covering several acres.  It had evidently been at one time a general
rendezvous of the Indians hunting in this section, as was indicated by
the large number of wigwams that had been pitched here.  That was a
long while ago, however, for the old poles were so decayed that they
fell into pieces when we attempted to pick them up.

There was no sign of a trail leading from the old camp ground, and I
sent Pete and Richards to circle the bush and endeavor to locate one
that I knew was somewhere about, while I fished and Stanton and Duncan
prepared an early supper.  A little later the two men returned,
unsuccessful in their quest.  They had seen two or three trails, any
of which might be our trail.  Of course but one of them _could_ be the
right one.

This report was both perplexing and annoying, for I did not wish to
follow for several days a wrong route and then discover the error when
much valuable time had been lost.

I therefore decided that we must be sure of our position before
proceeding, and early the following morning dispatched Richards and
Pete on a scouting expedition to a high hill some distance to the
northeast that they might, from that view-point, note the general
contour of the land and the location of any visible chain of lakes
leading to the northwest through which the Indian trail might pass,
and then endeavor to pick up the trail from one of these lakes, noting
old camping grounds and other signs.  As a precaution, in case they
were detained over night each carried some tea and some erbswurst, a
rifle, a cup at his belt and a compass.  When Pete took the rifle he
held it up meaningly and said, "Fresh meat to-night.  Caribou," and I
could see that he was planning to make a hunt of it.

When they were gone, I took Easton with me and climbed another hill
nearer camp, that I might get a panoramic view of the valley in which
we were camped.  From this vantage ground I could see, stretching off
to the northward, a chain of three or four small lakes which, I
concluded, though there was other water visible, undoubtedly marked
our course.  Far to the northwest was a group of rugged, barren, snow-
capped mountains which were, perhaps, the "white hills," behind which
the Indians had told us lay Seal Lake.  At our feet, sparkling in the
sunlight, spread the lake upon whose shores our tent, a little white
dot amongst the green trees, was pitched.  A bit of smoke curled up
from our camp fire, where I knew Stanton and Duncan were baking "squaw
bread."

We returned to camp to await the arrival and report of Richards and
Pete, and occupied the afternoon in catching trout which, though more
plentiful than in the first lake, were very small.

Toward evening, when a stiff breeze blew in from the lake and cleared
the black flies and mosquitoes away.  Easton took a canoe out,
stripped, and sprang into the water, while I undressed on shore and
was in the midst of a most refreshing bath when, suddenly, the wind
died away and our tormentors came upon us in clouds.  It was a
scramble to get into our clothes again, but before I succeeded in
hiding my nakedness from them, I was pretty severely wounded.

It was scarcely six o'clock when Richards and Pete walked into camp
and proudly threw down some venison.  Pete had kept his promise.  On
the lookout at every step for game, he had espied an old stag, and,
together, he and Richards had stalked it, and it had received bullets
from both their rifles.  I shall not say to which hunter belonged the
honor of killing the game.  They were both very proud of it.

But best of all, they had found, to a certainty, the trail leading to
one of the chain of little lakes which Easton and I had seen, and
these lakes, they reported, took a course directly toward a larger
lake, which they had glimpsed.  I decided that this must be the lake
of which the Indians at Northwest River had told us--Lake Nipishish
(Little Water).  This was very gratifying intelligence, as Nipishish
was said to be nearly half way to Seal Lake, from where we had begun
our portage on the Nascaupee.

What a supper we had that night of fresh venison, and new "squaw
bread," hot from the pan!

In the morning we portaged our outfit two miles, and removed our camp
to the second one of the series of lakes which Easton and I had seen
from the hill, and the fourth lake after leaving the Nascaupee River.
The morning was fearfully hot, and we floundered through marshes with
heavy packs, bathed in perspiration, and fairly breathing flies and
mosquitoes.  Not a breath of air stirred, and the humidity and heat
were awful.  Stanton and Duncan remained to pitch the tent and bring
up some of our stuff that had been left at the second lake, while
Richards, Easton, Pete and I trudged three miles over the hills for
the caribou meat which had been cached at the place where the animal
was killed, Richards and Pete having brought with them only enough for
two or three meals.

The country here was rough and broken, with many great bowlders
scattered over the hilltops.  When we reached the cache we were
ravenously hungry, and built a fire and had a very satisfying luncheon
of broiled venison steak and tea.  We bad barely finished our meal
when heavy black clouds overcast the sky, and the wind and rain broke
upon us in the fury of a hurricane.  With the coming of the storm the
temperature dropped fully forty degrees in half as many minutes, and
in our dripping wet garments we were soon chilled and miserable.  We
hastened to cut the venison up and put it into packs, and with each a
load of it, started homeward.  On the way I stopped with Pete to climb
a peak that I might have a view of the surrounding country and see the
large lake to the northward which he and Richards had reported the
evening before.  The atmosphere was sufficiently clear by this time
for me to see it, and I was satisfied that it was undoubtedly Lake
Nipishish, as no other large lake had been mentioned by the Indians.

We hastened down the mountain and made our way through rain-soaked
bushes and trees that showered us with their load of water at every
step, and when at last we reached camp and I threw down my pack, I was
too weary to change my wet garments for dry ones, and was glad to lie
down, drenched as I was, to sleep until supper was ready.

None of our venison must be wasted.  All that we could not use within
the next day or two must be "jerked," that is, dried, to keep it from
spoiling.  To accomplish this we erected poles, like the poles of a
wigwam, and suspended the meat from them, cut in thin strips, and in
the center, between the poles, made a small, smoky fire to keep the
greenbottle flies away, that they might not "blow" the venison, as
well as to aid nature in the drying process.

All day on July seventh the rain poured down, a cold, northwest wind
blew, and no progress was made in drying our meat.  There was nothing
to do but wait in the tent for the storm to clear.

When Pete went out to cook dinner I told him to make a little corn
meal porridge and let it go at that, but what a surprise he had for us
when, a little later, dripping wet and hands full of kettles, he
pushed his way into the tent!  A steaming venison potpie, broiled
venison steaks, hot fried bread dough, stewed prunes for dessert and a
kettle of hot tea!  All experienced campers in the north woods are
familiar with the fried bread dough.  It is dough mixed as you would
mix it for squaw bread, but not quite so stiff, pulled out to the size
of your frying pan, very thin, and fried in swimming pork grease.  In
taste it resembles doughnuts.  Hubbard used to call it "French toast."
Our young men had never eaten it before, and Richards, taking one of
the cakes, asked Pete:

"What do you call this?"

"I don't know," answered Pete.

"Well," said Richards, with a mouthful of it, "I call it darn good."

"That's what we call him then," retorted Pete, "darn good."

And so the cakes were christened "darn goods," and always afterward we
referred to them by that name.

The forest fire which I have mentioned as having swept this country to
the shores of Grand Lake some thirty-odd years ago, had been
particularly destructive in this portion of the valley where we were
now encamped.  The stark dead spruce trees, naked skeletons of the old
forest, stood all about, and that evening, when I stepped outside for
a look at the sky and weather, I was impressed with the dreariness of
the scene.  The wind blew in gusts, driving the rain in sheets over
the face of the hills and through the spectral trees, finally dashing
it in bucketfuls against our tent.

The next forenoon, however, the sky cleared, and in the afternoon
Richards and I went ahead in one of the canoes to hunt the trail.  We
followed the north shore of the lake to its end, then portaged twenty
yards across a narrow neck into another lake, and keeping near the
north shore of this lake also, continued until we came upon a creek of
considerable size running out of it and taking a southeasterly course.
Where the creek left the lake there was an old Indian fishing camp.
It was out of the question that our trail should follow the valley of
this creek, for it led directly away from our goal.  We, therefore,
returned and explored a portion of the north shore of the lake, which
was very bare, bowlder strewn, and devoid of vegetation for the most
part--even moss.

Once we came upon a snow bank in a hollow, and cooled ourselves by
eating some of the snow.  Our observations made it quite certain that
the trail left the northern side of the second lake through a bowlder-
strewn pass over the hills, though there were no visible signs of it,
and we climbed one of the hills in the hope of seeing lakes beyond.
There were none in sight.  It was too late to continue our search that
day and we reluctantly returned to camp.  Our failure was rather
discouraging because it meant a further loss of time, and I had hoped
that our route, until we reached Nipishish at least, would lie
straight and well defined before us.

Sunday was comfortably cool, with a good stiff breeze to drive away
the flies.  I dispatched Richards, with Pete and Easton to accompany
him, to follow up our work of the evening before, and look into the
pass through the hills, while I remained behind with Stanton and
Duncan and kept the fire going under our venison.

I Had expected that Duncan, with his lifelong experience as a native
trapper and hunter in the Labrador interior, would be of great
assistance to us in locating the trail; but to my disappointment I
discovered soon after our start that he was far from good even in
following a trail when it was found, though he never got lost and
could always find his way back, in a straight line, to any given
point.

The boys returned toward evening and reported that beyond the hills,
through the pass, lay a good-sized lake, and that some signs of a
trail were found leading to it.  This was what I had hoped for.

Our meat was now sufficiently dried to pack, and, anxious to be on the
move again, I directed that on the morrow we should break camp and
cross the hills to the lakes beyond.



CHAPTER V

WE GO ASTRAY

At half-past four on Monday morning I called the men, and while Pete
was preparing breakfast the rest of us broke camp and made ready for a
prompt start.  All were anxious to see behind the range of bowlder-
covered hills and to reach Lake Nipishish, which we felt could not now
be far away.  As soon as our meal was finished the larger canoe was
loaded and started on ahead, while Richards, Duncan and I remained
behind to load and follow in the other.

With the rising sun the day had become excessively warm, and there was
not a breath of wind to cool the stifling atmosphere.  The trail was
ill-defined and rough, winding through bare glacial bowlders that were
thick-strewn on the ridges; and the difficulty of following it,
together with the heat, made the work seem doubly hard, as we trudged
with heavy packs to the shores of a little lake which nestled in a
notch between the bills a mile and a half away.  Once a fox ran before
us and took refuge in its den under a large rock, but save the always
present cloud of black flies, no other sign of life was visible on the
treeless hills.  Finally at midday, after three wearisome journeys
back and forth, bathed in perspiration and dripping fly dope and pork
grease, which we had rubbed on our faces pretty freely as a protection
from the winged pests, we deposited our last load upon the shores of
the lake, and thankfully stopped to rest and cook our dinner.

We were still eating when we heard the first rumblings of distant
thunder and felt the first breath of wind from a bank of black clouds
in the western sky, and had scarcely started forward again when the
heavens opened upon us with a deluge.

The brunt of the storm soon passed, but a steady rain continued as we
paddled through the lake and portaged across a short neck of land into
a larger lake, down which we paddled to a small round island near its
lower end.  Here, drenched to the bone and thoroughly tired, we made
camp, and in the shelter of the tent ate a savory stew composed of
duck, grouse, venison and fat pork that Pete served in the most
appetizing camp style.

I was astounded by the amount of squaw bread and "darn goods" that the
young men of my party made away with, and began to fear not only for
the flour supply, but also for the health of the men.  One day when I
saw one of my party eat three thick loaves of squaw bread in addition
to a fair quantity of meat, I felt that it was time to limit the flour
part of the ration.  I expressed my fears to Pete, and advised that he
bake less bread, and make the men eat more of the other food.

"Bread very good for Indian.  Not good when white an eat so much.
Good way fix him.  Use not so much baking powder, me.  Make him
heavy," suggested Pete.

"No, Pete, use enough baking powder to make the bread good, and I'll
speak to the men.  Then if they don't eat less bread of their own
accord, we'll have to limit them to a ration."

I decided to try this plan, and that evening in our camp on the island
I told them that a ration of bread would soon have to be resorted to.
They looked very solemn about it, for the bare possibility of a
limited ration, something that they had never had to submit to,
appeared like a hardship to them.

On Tuesday morning when we awoke the rain was still falling steadily.
During the forenoon the storm abated somewhat and we broke camp and
transferred our goods to the mainland, where the trail left the lake
near a good-sized brook.  Our portage led us over small bills and
through marshes a mile and a half to another lake.  While Pete
remained at our new camp to prepare supper and Easton stayed with him,
the rest of us brought forward the last load.  Richards and I with a
canoe and packs attempted to run down the brook, which emptied into
the lake near our camp; but we soon found the stream too rocky, and
were forced to cut our way through a dense growth of willows and carry
the canoe and packs to camp on our backs.

The rain had ceased early in the afternoon, and the evening was
delightfully cool, so that the warmth of a big camp fire was most
grateful and comforting.  Our day's march had carried us into a well-
wooded country, and the spectral dry sticks of the old burnt forest
were behind us.  The clouds hung low and threatening, and in the
twilight beyond the glow of our leaping fire made the still waters of
the lake, with its encircling wilderness of fir trees, seem very dark
and somber.  The genial warmth of the fire was so in contrast to the
chilly darkness of the tent that we sat long around it and talked of
our travels and prospects and the lake and the wilderness before us
that no white man had ever before seen, while the brook near by
tumbling over its rocky bed roared a constant complaint at our
intrusion into this land of solitude.

The following morning was cool and fine, but showers developed during
the day.  Our venison, improderly dried, was molding, and much of it
we found, upon unpacking, to be maggoty.  After breakfast I instructed
the others to cut out the wormy parts as far as possible and hang the
good meat over the fire for further drying, while with Easton I
explored a portion of the lake shore in search of the trail leading
out.  We returned for a late dinner, and then while Easton, Richards
and I caught trout, I dispatched Pete and Stanton to continue the
search beyond the point where Easton and I had left off.  It was near
evening when they came back with the information that they had found
the trail, very difficult to follow, leading to a river, some two
miles and a half beyond our camp.  This was undoubtedly the Crooked
River, which empties into Grand Lake close to the Nascaupee, and which
the Indians had told us had its rise in Lake Nipishish.

The evening was very warm, and mosquitoes were so thick in the tent
that we almost breathed them.  Stanton, after much turning and
fidgeting, finally took his blanket out of doors, where he said it was
cooler and he could sleep with his head covered to protect him; but in
an hour he was back, and with his blanket wet with dew took his usual
place beside me.

Below the point where the trail enters the Crooked River it is said by
the Indians to be exceedingly rough and entirely impassable.  We
portaged into it the next morning, paddled a short distance up the
stream, which is here some two hundred yards in width and rather
shallow, then poled through a short rapid and tracked through two
others, wading almost to our waists in some places.  We now came to a
widening of the river where it spread out into a small lake.  Near the
upper end of this expansion was an island upon which we found a long-
disused log cache of the Indians.  A little distance above the island
what appeared to be two rivers flowed into the expansion.  Richards,
Duncan and I explored up the right-hand branch until we struck a
rapid.  Upon our return to the point where the two streams came
together we found that the other canoe, against my positive
instructions not to proceed at uncertain points until I had decided
upon the proper route to take, had gone up the branch on the left,
tracked through a rapid and disappeared.

There were no signs of Indians on either of these branches so far as
we could discover, and I was well satisfied that somewhere on the
north bank of the expansion, probably not far from the island and old
cache which we had passed, was the trail.  But evening was coming on
and rain was threatening, so there was nothing to do but follow the
other canoe, which had gone blindly ahead, until we should overtake
it, as it contained all the cooking utensils and our tent.  This fail-
ure of the men to obey instructions took us a considerable distance
out of our way and cost us several days' time, as we discovered later.

We tracked through some rapids and finally overhauled the others at a
place where the river branched again.  It was after seven o'clock, a
drizzling rain was falling, and here we pitched camp on the east side
of the river just opposite the junction of the two branches.

On the west fork and directly across from our camp was a rough rapid,
and while supper was cooking I paddled over with Richards to try for
fish.  We made our casts, and I quickly landed a twenty-inch
ouananiche and Richards hooked a big trout that, after much play, was
brought ashore.  It measured twenty-two and a half inches from tip to
tip and eleven and a half inches around the shoulders.  I had landed a
couple more large trout, when Richards enthusiastically announced that
he had a big fellow hooked.  He played the fish for half an hour
before he brought it to the edge of the rock, so completely exhausted
that it could scarcely move a fin.  We had no landing net and he
attempted to lift it out by the line, when snap went the hook and the
fish was free!  I made a dash, caught it in my hands and triumphantly
brought it ashore.  It proved to be an ouananiche that measured
twenty-seven and one-half inches in length by eleven and one-quarter
inches in girth.

In our excitement we had forgotten all about supper and did not even
know that it was raining; but we now saw Pete on the further shore
gesticulating wildly and pointing at his open mouth, in pantomime
suggestion that the meal was waiting.

"Well, that _is_ fishing!" remarked Richards.  "I never landed a fish
as big as that before."

"Yes," I answered; "we're getting near the headwaters of the river
now, where the big fish are always found."

"I never expected any such sport as that.  It's worth the hard work
just for this hour's fishing."

"You'll get plenty more of it before we're through the country.  There
are some big fellows under that rapid.  The Indians told us we should
find salmon in this section too, but we're ahead of the salmon, I
think.  They're hardly due for a month yet."

"Let's show the fellows the trout, first.  They're big enough to make
'em open their eyes.  Then we'll spring the ouananiche on 'cm and
they'll faint.  It'll, be enough to make Easton want to come and try a
cast too."

So when we pushed through the dripping bushes to the tent we presented
only the few big trout, which did indeed create a sensation.  Then
Richards brought forward his ouananiche, and it produced the desired
effect.  After supper Pete and Easton must try their hand at the fish,
and they succeeded in catching five trout averaging, we estimated,
from two to three pounds each.  Richards, however, still held the
record as to big fish, both trout and ouananiche, and the others vowed
they would take it from him if they had to fish nights to do it.

_En route_ up the river, in the afternoon, Pete had shot a muskrat,
and I asked him that night what he was going to do with it.

"I don't know," he answered.  "Muskrat no good now."

"Well, never kill any animal while you are with me that you cannot
use, except beasts of prey."

This was one of the rules that I had laid down at the beginning: that
no member of the party should kill for the sake of killing any living
thing.  I could not be angry with Pete, however, for he was always so
goodnatured.  No matter how sharply I might reprove him, in five
minutes he would be doing something for my comfort, or singing some
Indian song as he went lightheartedly about his work.  I understood
how hard it was for him to down the Indian instinct to kill, and that
the muskrat bad been shot thoughtlessly without considering for a
moment whether it were needed or not.  The flesh of the muskrat at
this season of the year is very strong in flavor and unpalatable, and
besides, with the grouse that were occasionally killed, the fish that
we were catching, and the dried venison still on hand, we could not
well use it.  No fur is, of course, in season at this time of year,
and so there was no excuse for killing muskrats for the pelts.

In the vicinity of this camp we saw some of the largest spruce timber
that we came upon in the whole journey across Labrador.  Some of these
trees were fully twenty-two inches in diameter at the butt and perhaps
fifty to sixty feet in height.  These large trees were very scattered,
however, and too few to be of commercial value.  For the most part the
trees that we met with were six to eight, and, occasionally, ten
inches through, scrubby and knotted.  In Labrador trees worth the
cutting are always located near streams in sheltered valleys.

That evening before we retired the drizzle turned to a downpour, and
we were glad to leave our unprotected camp fire for the unwarmed
shelter of our tent.  While I lay within and listened to the storm, I
wrote in my diary: "As I lie here, the rain pours upon the tent over
my head and drips--drips--drips through small holes in the silk; the
wind sweeps through the spruce trees outside and a breath of the
fragrance of the great damp forest comes to me.  I hear the roar of
the rapid across the river as the waters pour down over the rocks in
their course to the sea.  I wonder if some of those very waters do not
wash the shores of New York.  How far away the city seems, and how
glad I shall be to return home when my work here is finished!

"This is a feeling that comes to one often in the wilderness.  Perhaps
it is a touch of homesickness--a hunger for the sympathy and
companionship of our friends."

The days that followed were days of weary waiting and inactivity.  A
cold northeast storm was blowing and the rain fell heavily and
incessantly day and night.  Trail hunting was impracticable while the
storm lasted, but the halt offered an opportunity that was taken
advantage of to repair our outfit; also there was much needed mending
to be done, as some of our clothing was badly torn.

Everything we had in the way of wearing apparel was wet, and we set up
our tent stove for the first time, that we might dry our things under
cover.  This stove proved a great comfort to us, and all agreed that
it was an inspiration that led me to bring it.  It was not an
inspiration, however, but my experience on the trip with Hubbard that
taught the necessity of a stove for just such occasions as this, and
for the colder weather later.

Some of us went to the rapid to fish, but it was too cold for either
fly or bait, and we soon gave it up.  I slipped off a rock in the
lower swirl of the rapid, and went into the river over head and ears.
Pete, who was with me, gave audible expression to his amusement at my
discomfiture as I crawled out of the water like a half drowned rat;
but I could see no occasion for his hilarity and I told him so.

This experience dampened my enthusiasm as a fisherman for that day.
The net was set, however, which later yielded us some trout.  A fish
planked on a dry spruce log hewn flat on one side, made a delicious
dinner, and a savory kettle of fish chowder made of trout and dried
onions gave us an equally good supper.

On July fifteenth sleet was mingled with the rain in the early
morning, and it was so cold that Duncan used his mittens when doing
outdoor work.  Easton was not feeling well, and I looked upon our
delay as not altogether lost time, as it gave him an opportunity to
get into shape again.

A pocket copy of "Hiawatha," from which Stanton read aloud, furnished
us with entertainment.  Pete was very much interested in the reading,
and I found he was quite familiar with the legends of his Indian hero,
and he told us some stories of Hiawatha that I had never heard.
"Hiawatha," said Pete, "he the same as Christ.  He do anything he want
to."  Pete produced his harmonica and proved himself a very good
performer.

July sixteenth was Sunday, and I decided that rain or shine we must
break camp on Monday and move forwards for the inactivity was becoming
unendurable.

A little fishing was done, and Pete landed a twenty-two and three-
quarter inch trout, thus wresting the big-trout record from Richards.
Pete was proud and boasted a great deal of this feat, which he claimed
proved his greater skill as a fisherman, but which the others
attributed to luck.

We were enabled to do some scouting in the afternoon, which resulted
in the discovery that our camp was on an island.  Nowhere could we
find any Indian signs, and we were therefore quite evidently off the
trail.



CHAPTER VI

LAKE NIPISHISH IS REACHED

As already stated, the Indians at Northwest River Post had informed us
that the Crooked River had its rise in Lake Nipishish, and I therefore
decided to follow the stream from the point where we were now encamped
to the lake, or until we should come upon the trail again, as I felt
sure we should do farther up, rather than retrace our steps to the
abandoned cache on the island in the expansion below, and probably
consume considerable time in locating the old portage route from that
point.

Accordingly, on Monday morning we began our work against the almost
continuous rapids, which we discovered as we proceeded were
characteristic of the river.  A heavy growth of willows lined the
banks, forcing us into the icy water, where the swift current made it
very difficult to keep our footing upon the slippery bowlders of the
river bed.  Tracking lines were attached to the bows of the canoes and
we floundered forward.

The morning was cloudy and cool and resembled a day in late October,
but before noon the sun graciously made his appearance and gave us new
spirit for our work.  When we stopped for dinner I sent Pete and
Easton to look ahead, and Pete brought back the intelligence that a
half-mile portage would cut off a considerable bend in the river and
take us into still water.  It was necessary to clear a portion of the
way with the ax. This done, the portage was made, and then we found to
our disappointment that the still water was less than a quarter mile
in length, when rapids occurred again.

As I deemed it wise to get an idea of the lay of the land before
proceeding farther, I took Pete with me and went ahead to scout the
route.  Less than a mile away we found two small lakes, and climbing a
ridge two miles farther on, we had a view of the river, which, so far
as we could see, continued to be very rough, taking a turn to the
westward above where our canoes were stationed, and then swinging
again to the northeast in the direction of Nipishish, which was
plainly visible.  The Indians, instead of taking the longer route that
we were following, undoubtedly crossed from the old cache to a point
in the river some distance above where it took its westward swing, and
thus, in one comparatively easy portage, saved themselves several
miles of rough traveling.  It was too late for us now, however, to
take advantage of this.

Pete and I hurried back to the others.  The afternoon was well
advanced, but sufficient daylight remained to permit us to proceed a
little way up the river, and portage to the shores of one of the
lakes, where camp was made just at dusk.

Field mice in this section were exceedingly troublesome.  They would
run over us at night, sample our food, and gnawed a hole as large as a
man's hand in the side of the tent.  Porcupines, too, were something
of a nuisance.  One night one of them ate a piece out of my tumpline,
which was partially under my head, while I slept.

The next morning we passed through the lakes to the river above, and
for three days, in spite of an almost continuous rain and wind storm,
worked our way up stream, "tracking" the canoes through a succession
of rapids or portaging around them, with scarcely any opportunity to
paddle.

On the afternoon of the third day, with the wind dashing the rain in
sheets into our faces, we halted on a rough piece of ground just above
the river bank and pitched our tent.

When camp was made Pete took me to a rise of ground a little distance
away, and pointing to the northward exclaimed: "Look, Lake Nipishish!
I know we reach him to-day."

And sure enough, there lay Lake Nipishish close at hand!  I was more
thankful than I can say to see the water stretching far away to the
northward, for I felt that now the hardest and roughest part of our
journey to the height of land was completed.

"That's great, Pete," said I. "We'll have more water after this and
fewer and easier portages, and we can travel faster."

"Maybe better, I don't know," remarked Pete, rather skeptically.
"Always hard find trail out big lakes.  May leave plenty places.  Take
more time hunt trail maybe now.  Indian maps no good.  Maybe easier
when we find him."

Pete was right, and I did not know the difficulties still to be met
with before we should reach Michikamau.

Duncan was of comparatively little help to us now, and as I knew that
he was more than anxious to return to Groswater Bay, I decided to
dispense with his further services and send him back with letters to
be mailed home.  When I returned to the tent I said to him:

"Duncan, I suppose you would like to go home now, and I will let you
turn back from here and take some letters out.  Does that suit you?"

"Yes, sir, that suits me fine," replied be promptly, and in a tone
that left no doubt of the fact that he was glad to go.

"Well, this is Thursday.  I'll write my letters tomorrow, and you may
go on Saturday."

"All right, sir."

The letters were all written and ready for Duncan on Friday night, and
he packed sufficient provisions into a waterproof bag I gave him to
carry him out, and prepared for an early start in the morning.  But
the rain that had been falling for several days still poured down on
Saturday, and he decided to postpone his departure another day in the
hope of better weather on Sunday.  He needed the time anyway to mend
his sealskin boots before starting back, for he had pretty nearly worn
them out on the sharp rocks on the portages.  The rest of us were well
provided with oil-tanned moccasins (sometimes called larigans or shoe-
packs), which I have found are the best footwear for a journey like
ours.  Pete's khaki trousers were badly torn; and Richards and Easton,
who wore Mackinaw trousers, were in rags.  This cloth had not
withstood the hard usage of Labrador travel a week, and both men, when
they bad a spare hour, occupied it in sewing on canvas patches, until
now there was almost as much canvas patch as Mackinaw cloth in these
garments.  Richards, however, carried an extra pair of moleskin
trousers, and I wore moleskin.  This latter material is the best
obtainable, so far as my experience goes, for rough traveling in the
bush, and my trousers stood the trip with but one small patch until
winter came.

Sunday morning was still stormy, but before noon the rain ceased, and
Duncan announced his intention of starting homeward at once.  We
raised our flags and exchanged our farewells and Godspeeds with him.
Then he left us, and as be disappeared down the trail a strange sense
of loneliness came upon us, for it seemed to us that his going broke
the last link that connected us with the outside world.  Duncan was
always so cheerful, with his quaint humor, and so ready to do his work
to the very best of his ability, that we missed him very much, and
often spoke of him in the days that followed.

We had made the best of our enforced idleness in this camp to repack
and condense and dry our outfit as much as possible.  The venison, at
the first imperfectly cured, had been so continuously soaked that the
most of what remained of it was badly spoiled and we could not use it,
and with regret we threw it away.  The erbswurst was also damp, and
this we put into small canvas bags, which were then placed near the
stove to dry.

A rising barometer augured good weather for Monday morning.  A light
wind scattered the clouds that had for so many days entombed the world
in storm and gloom, and the sun broke out gloriously, setting the
moisture-laden trees aglinting as though hung with a million pearls
and warming the damp fir trees until the air was laden with the forest
perfume.  It was as though a pall had been lifted from the world.  How
our hearts swelled with the new enthusiasm of the returned sunshine!
It was always so.  It seemed as if the long-continued storms bound up
our hearts and crushed the buoyancy from them; but the returning
sunshine melted the bonds at once and gave us new ambition.  A robin
sang gayly from a near-by tree--a messenger from the kindlier
Southland come to cheer us--and the "whisky jacks," who had not shown
themselves for several days, appeared again with their shrill cries,
venturing impudently into the very door of our tent to claim scraps of
refuse.

I was for moving forward that very afternoon, but some of our things
were still wet, and I deemed it better judgment to let them have the
day in which to dry and to delay our start until Monday morning.

After supper, in accordance with the Sunday custom established by
Hubbard when I was with him, I read aloud a selection from the
Testament--the last chapter of Revelation--and then went out of the
tent to take the usual nine o'clock weather observation.  Between the
horizon and a fringe of black clouds that hung low in the north the
reflected sun set the heavens afire, and through the dark fir trees
the lake stretched red as a lake of blood.  I called the others to see
it and Easton joined me.  We climbed a low hill close at hand to view
the scene, and while we looked the red faded into orange, and the lake
was transformed into a mirror, which reflected the surrounding trees
like an inverted forest.  In the direction from which we had come we
could see the high blue hills beyond the Nascaupee, very dim in the
far distance.  Below us the Crooked River lost itself as it wound its
tortuous way through the wooded valley that we had traversed.
Somewhere down there Duncan was bivouacked, and we wondered if his
fire was burning at one of our old camping places.

Darkness soon came and we returned to the tent to find the others
rolled in their blankets, and we joined them at once that we might
have a good night's rest preparatory to an early morning advance.

Before seven o'clock on Monday morning (July twenty-fourth) we had
made our portage to the water that we had supposed to be an arm of
Lake Nipishish, but which proved instead to be an expansion of the
river into which the lake poured its waters through a short rapid.
This rapid necessitated another short portage before we were actually
afloat upon the bosom of Nipishish itself.  There was not a cloud to
mar the azure of the sky, hardly a breath of wind to make a ripple on
the surface of the lake, and the morning was just cool enough to be
delightful.

It was the kind of day and kind of wilderness that makes one want to
go on and on.  I felt again the thrill in my blood of that magic
something that had held possession of Hubbard and me and lured us into
the heart of this unknown land two years before, and as I looked
hungrily away toward the hills to the northward, I found myself
repeating again one of those selections from Kipling that I had
learned from him:

  "Something hidden.  Go and find it.  Go and look behind the Ranges--
   Something lost behind the Ranges.  Lost and waiting for you. Go!"



CHAPTER VII

SCOUTING FOR THE TRAIL

Lake Nipishish is approximately twenty miles in length, and at its
broadest part ten or twelve miles in width.  It extends in an almost
due easterly direction from the place where we launched our canoes
near its outlet.  The shores are rocky and rise gradually into low,
well-wooded hills, by which the lake is surrounded.  Five miles from
the outlet a rocky point juts out into the water, and above the point
an arm of the lake reaches into the hills to the northward to a
distance of six miles, almost at right angles to the main lake.  In
the arm there are several small, rocky islands which sustain a scrubby
growth of black spruce and fir balsam.

Hitherto the Indian maps had been of little assistance to us.  No
estimate of distance could be made from them, and the lakes through
which we had passed (not all of them shown on the map) were
represented by small circles with nothing to indicate at what point on
their shores the trail was to be found.  Lake Nipishish, however, was
drawn on a larger scale and with more detail, and we readily located
the trail leading out of the arm which I have mentioned.

After a day's work through several small lakes or ponds, with short
intervening portages, and a trail on the whole well defined and easily
followed, we came one afternoon to a good-sized lake of irregular
shape which Pete promptly named Washkagama (Crooked Lake).

A stream flowed into Washkagama near the place where we went ashore,
and it seemed to me probable that our route might be along this
stream, which it was likely drained lakes farther up; but a search in
the vicinity failed to uncover any signs of the trail, and the irregu-
lar shape of the lake suggested several other likely places for it.
We were, therefore, forced to go into camp, disappointing as it was,
until we should know our position to a certainty.

The next day was showery, but we began in the morning a determined
hunt for the trail.  Stanton remained in camp to make needed repairs
to the outfit; Easton went with Pete to the northward, while Richards
and I in one of the canoes paddled to the eastern side of the lake
arm, upon which we were encamped, to climb a barren hill from which we
hoped to get a good view of the country, and upon reaching the summit
we were not disappointed.  A wide panorama was spread before us.  To
the north lay a great rolling country covered with a limitless forest
of firs, with here and there a bit of sparkling water.  A mile from
our camp a creek, now and again losing itself in the green woods,
rushed down to join Washkagama, anxious to gain the repose of the
lake.  To the northeast the rugged white hills, that we were hoping to
reach soon, loomed up grand and majestic, with patches of snow, like
white sheets, spread over their sides and tops.  From Nipishish to
Washkagama we had passed through a burned and rocky country where no
new growth save scant underbrush and a few scattering spruce, balsam
and tamarack trees had taken the place of the old destroyed forest.
The dead, naked tree trunks which, gaunt and weather-beaten, still
stood upright or lay in promiscuous confusion on the ground, gave this
part of the country from our hilltop view an appearance of solitary
desolation that we had not noticed when we were traveling through it.
But this unregenerated district ended at Washkagama; and below it
Nipishish, with its green-topped hills, seemed almost homelike.

The creek that I have mentioned as flowing into the lake a mile from
our camp seemed to me worthy to be explored for the trail, and I
determined to go there at once upon our return to camp, while Richards
desired to climb a rock-topped hill which held its head above the
timber line three or four miles to the northwest, that he might make
topographical and geological observations there.

We returned to camp, and Richards, with a package of erbswurst in his
pocket to cook for dinner and my rifle on his shoulder, started
immediately into the bush, and was but just gone when Pete and Easton
appeared with the report that two miles above us lay a large lake, and
that they had found the trail leading from it to the creek I had seen
from the hill.  The lake lay among the hills to the northward, and the
bits of water I had seen were portions of it.  I was anxious to break
camp and start forward, but this could not be done until Richards'
return.  Easton, Pete and I paddled up to the creek's mouth,
therefore, and spent the day fishing, and landed eighty-seven trout,
ranging from a quarter pound to four pounds in weight.  The largest
ones Stanton split and hung over the fire to dry for future use, while
the others were applied to immediate need.

When Richards came into camp in the evening he brought with him an
excellent map of the country that he had seen from the hill and
reported having counted ten lakes, including the large one that Easton
and Pete had visited.  He also had found the trail and followed it
back.

The next morning some tracking and wading up the creek was necessary
before we found ourselves upon the trail with packs on our backs, and
before twelve o'clock we arrived with all our outfit at the lake,
which we shall call Minisinaqua.  It was an exceedingly beautiful
sheet of water, the main body, perhaps, ten or twelve miles in length,
but narrow, and with many arms and indentations and containing
numerous round green islands.  The shores and surrounding country were
well wooded with spruce, fir, balsam, larch, and an occasional small
white birch.

I took my place in the larger canoe with Pete and Easton and left
Stanton to follow with Richards.  Pete's eyes, as always, were
scanning with keen scrutiny every inch of shore.  Suddenly he
straightened up, peered closely at an island, and in a stage whisper
exclaimed "Caribou!  Caribou!  Don't make noise!  Paddle, quick!"

We saw them then--two old stags and a fawn--on an island, but they had
seen us, too, or winded us more likely, and, rushing across the
island, took to the water on the opposite side, making for the
mainland.  We bent to our paddles with all our might, hoping to get
within shooting distance of them, but they had too much lead.  We all
tried some shots when we saw we could not get closer, but the deer
were five hundred yards away, and from extra exertion with our
paddles, we were unable to hold steady, and missed.

Our canoes were turned into an arm of the lake leading to the
northward.  Amongst some islands we came upon a flock of five geese--
two old ones and three young ones.  The old ones had just passed
through the molting season, and their new wing feathers were not long
enough to bear them, and the young ones, though nearly full grown, had
not yet learned to fly.  Pete brought the mother goose and two of her
children down with the shotgun, but father gander and the other
youngster escaped, flapping away on the surface of the lake at a
remarkable speed, and they were allowed to go with their lives without
a chase.

We stumbled upon the trail leading from Lake Minisinaqua, almost
immediately upon landing.  Its course was in a northerly direction
through the valley of a small river that emptied into the lake.  This
valley was inclosed by low hills, and the country, like that between
Washkagama and Lake Minisinaqua, was well covered with the same
varieties of small trees that were found there.  For a mile and three-
quarters, the stream along which the trail ran was too swift for
canoeing, but it then expanded into miniature lakes or ponds which
were connected by short rapids.  Each of us portaged a load to the
first pond, where the canoes were to be launched, and I directed Pete
and Stanton to remain here, pluck the geese, and prepare two of them
for an evening dinner, while Richards, Easton and I brought forward a
second load and pitched camp.

This was Easton's twenty-second birthday and it occurred to me that it
would be a pleasant variation to give a birthday dinner in his honor
and to have a sort of feast to relieve the monotony of our daily life,
and give the men something to think about and revive their spirits;
for "bucking the trail" day after day with no change but the gradual
change of scenery does grow monotonous to most men, and the ardor of
the best of them, especially men unaccustomed to roughing it, will
become damped in time unless some variety, no matter how slight, can
be brought into their lives.  A good dinner always has this effect,
for after men are immersed in a wilderness for several weeks, good
things to eat take the first place in their thoughts and, to judge
from their conversation, the attainment of these is their chief aim in
life.

My instructions to Pete included the baking of an extra ration of
bread to be served hot with the roast geese, and I asked Stanton to
try his hand at concocting some kind of a pudding out of the few
prunes that still remained, to be served with sugar as sauce, and
accompanied by black coffee.  Our coffee supply was small and it was
used only on Sundays now, or at times when we desired an especial
treat.

We were pretty tired when we returned with our second packs and
dropped them on a low, bare knoll some fifty yards above the fire
where Pete and Stanton were carrying on their culinary operations, but
a whiff of roasting goose came to us like a tonic, and it did not take
us long to get camp pitched.

"Um-m-m," said Easton, stopping in his work of driving tent pegs to
sniff the air now bearing to us appetizing odors of goose and coffee,
"that smells like home."

"You bet it does," assented Richards.  "I haven't been filled up for a
week, but I'm going to be to-night."

At length dinner was ready, and we fell to with such good purpose that
the two birds, a generous portion of hot bread, innumerable cups of
black coffee, and finally, a most excellent pudding that Stanton had
made out of bread dough and prunes and boiled in a canvas specimen bag
disappeared.

How we enjoyed it!  "No hotel ever served such a banquet," one of the
boys remarked as we filled our pipes and lighted them with brands from
the fire.  Then with that blissful feeling that nothing but a good
dinner can give, we lay at full length on the deep white moss, peace-
fully puffing smoke at the stars as they blinked sleepily one by one
out of the blue of the great arch above us until the whole firmament
was glittering with a mass of sparkling heaven gems.  The soft perfume
of the forest pervaded the atmosphere; the aurora borealis appeared in
the northern sky, and its waves of changing light swept the heavens;
the vast silence of the wilderness possessed the world and, wrapped in
his own thoughts, no man spoke to break the spell.  Finally Pete began
a snatch of Indian song:

  "Puhgedewawa enenewug
   Nuhbuggesug kamiwauw."

Then he drew from his pocket a harmonica, and for half an hour played
soft music that harmonized well with the night and the surroundings;
when he ceased, all but Richards and I went to their blankets.  We two
remained by the dying embers of our fire for another hour to enjoy the
perfect night, and then, before we turned to our beds, made an
observation for compass variation, which calculations the following
morning showed to be thirty-seven degrees west of the true north.

Paddling through the ponds, polling and tracking through the rapids or
portaging around them up the little river on which we were encamped
the night before, brought us to Otter Lake, which was considerably
larger than Lake Minisinaqua, but not so large as Nipishish.  The main
body was not over a mile and a half in width, but it had a number of
bays and closely connected tributary lakes.  Its eastern end, which we
did not explore, penetrated low spruce and balsam-covered hills.  To
the north and northeast were rugged, rock-tipped hills, rising to an
elevation of some seven hundred feet above the lake.  The country at
their base was covered with a green forest of small fir, spruce and
birch, and near the water, in marshy places, as is the case nearly
everywhere in Labrador, tamarack, but the hills themselves had been
fire swept, and were gray with weather-worn, dead trees.  On the
summits, and for two hundred feet below, bare basaltic rock indicated
that at this elevation they had never sustained any growth, save a few
straggling bushes.  On some of these hills there still remained
patches of snow of the previous winter.

We paddled eastward along the northern shore of the lake.  Once we saw
a caribou swimming far ahead of us, but he discovered our approach and
took to the timber before we were within shooting distance of him.  A
flock of sawbill ducks avoided us.  No sign of Indians was seen, and
four miles up the lake we stopped upon a narrow, sandy point that
jutted out into the water for a distance of a quarter mile, to pitch
camp and scout for the trail.  All along the point and leading back
into the bush, were fresh caribou tracks, where the animals came out
to get the benefit of the lake breezes and avoid the flies, which
torment them terribly.  Natives in the North have told me of caribou
having been worried to death by the insects, and it is not improbable.
The "bulldogs" or "stouts," as they are sometimes called, which are as
big as bumblebees, are very vicious, and follow the poor caribou in
swarms.  The next morning a caribou wandered down to within a hundred
and fifty yards of camp, and Pete and Stanton both fired at it, but
missed, and it got away unscathed.

After breakfast, with Pete and Easton, I climbed one of the higher
hills for a view of the surrounding country.  Near the foot of the
hill, and in the depth of the spruce woods, we passed a lone Indian
grave, which we judged from its size to be that of a child.  It was
inclosed by a rough fence, which had withstood the pressure of the
heavy snows of many winters and a broken cross lay on it. From the
summit of the hill we could see a string of lakes extending in a
general northwesterly direction until they were lost in other hills
above, and also numerous lakes to the south, southwest, east and
northeast.  We could count from one point nearly fifty of these lakes,
large and small.  To the north and northwest the country was rougher
and more diversified, and the hills much higher than any we had as yet
passed through.

Down by our camp it had been excessively warm, but here on the hilltop
a cold wind was blowing that made us shiver.  We found a few scattered
dry sticks, and built a fire under the lee of a high bowlder, where we
cooked for luncheon some pea-meal porridge with water that Pete, with
foresight, had brought with him from a brook that we passed half way
down the hillside.  We then continued our scouting tour several miles
inland, climbing two other high hills, from one of which an excellent
view was had of the string of lakes penetrating the northwestern
hills.  Everywhere so far as our vision extended the valleys were
comparatively well wooded, but the treeless, rock-bound hills rose
grimly above the timber line.

When we returned to camp we were still unsettled as to where the trail
left the lake, but there was one promising bay that had not been
explored, and Richards and Easton volunteered to take a canoe and
search this bay.  They were supplied with tarpaulin, blankets, an ax
and one day's rations, and started immediately.

I felt some anxiety as to our slow progress.  August was almost upon
us and we had not yet reached Seal Lake.  Here, as at other places, we
had experienced much delay in finding the trail, and we did not know
what difficulties in that direction lay before us.  I had planned to
reach the George River by early September, and the question as to
whether we could do it or not was giving me much concern.

Pete and Stanton had been in bed and asleep for an hour, but I was
still awake, turning over in my mind the situation, and planning to-
morrow's campaign, when at ten o'clock I heard the soft dip of
paddles, and a few moments later Richards and Easton appeared out of
the night mist that hung over the lake, with the good news that they
had found the trail leading northward from the bay.



CHAPTER VIII

SEAL LAKE AT LAST

A thick, impenetrable mist, such as is seldom seen in the interior of
Labrador, hung over the water and the land when we struck camp and
began our advance.  For two days we traveled through numerous small
lakes, making several short portages, before we came to a lake which
we found to be the headwaters of a river flowing to the northwest.
This lake was two miles long, and we camped at its lower end, where
the river left it.  Portage Lake we shall call it, and the river that
flowed out of it Babewendigash.

The portage into the lake crossed a sand desert, upon which not a drop
of water was seen, and instead of the usual rocks there were uncovered
sand and gravel knolls and valleys, where grew only occasional bunches
of very stunted brush; the surface of the sand was otherwise quite
bare and sustained not even the customary moss and lichens.  The heat
of the sun reflected from the sand was powerful.  The day was one of
the most trying ones of the trip, and the men, with faces and hands
swollen and bleeding from the attacks of not only the small black
flies, which were particularly bad, but also the swarms of "bulldogs,"
complained bitterly of the hardships.  When we halted to eat our
luncheon one of the men remarked, "Duncan said once that if there are
no flies there, hell can't be as bad as this, and he's pretty near
right."

The river left the lake in a rapid, and while Pete was making his
fire, Richards, Easton and I went down to catch our supper, and in
half an hour had secured forty-five good-sized trout--sufficient for
supper that night and breakfast and dinner the next day.

Since leaving Otter Lake, caribou signs had been plentiful, fresh
trails running in every direction.  Pete was anxious to halt a day to
hunt, but I decreed otherwise, to his great disappointment.

The scenery at this point was particularly fine, with a rugged, wild
beauty that could hardly be surpassed.  Below us the great, bald snow
hills loomed very close at hand, with patches of snow glinting against
the black rocks of the hills, as the last rays of the setting sun
kissed them good-night.  Nearer by was the more hospitable wooded
valley and the shining river, and above us the lake, placid and
beautiful, and beyond it the line of low sand hills of the miniature
desert we had crossed.  One of the snow hills to the northwest had two
knobs resembling a camel's back, and was a prominent landmark.  We
christened it "The Camel's Hump."

Heretofore the streams had been taking a generally southerly
direction, but this river flowed to the northwest, which was most
encouraging, for running in that direction it could have but one
outlet-the Nascaupee River.

A portage in the morning, then a short run on the river, then another
portage, around a shallow rapid, and we were afloat again on one of
the prettiest little rivers I have ever seen.  The current was strong
enough to hurry us along.  Down we shot past the great white hills,
which towered in majestic grandeur high above our heads, in some
places rising almost perpendicularly from the water, with immense
heaps of debris which the frost had detached from their sides lying at
their base.  The river was about fifty yards wide, and in its windings
in and out among the hills almost doubled upon itself sometimes.  The
scenery was fascinating.  One or two small lake expansions were
passed, but generally there was a steady current and a good depth of
water.  "This is glorious!" some one exclaimed, as we shot onward, and
we all appreciated the relief from the constant portaging that had
been the feature of our journey since leaving the Nascaupee River.

The first camp on this river was pitched upon the site of an old
Indian camp, above a shallow rapid.  The many wigwam poles, in varying
states of decay, together with paddles, old snowshoes, broken sled
runners, and other articles of Indian traveling paraphernalia, in-
dicated that it had been a regular stopping place of the Indians, both
in winter and in summer, in the days when they had made their
pilgrimages to Northwest River Post.  Near this point we found some
beaver cuttings, the first that we had seen since leaving the Crooked
River.

Babewendigash soon carried us into a large lake expansion, and six
hours were consumed paddling about the lake before the outlet was
discovered.  At first we thought it possible we were in Seal Lake, but
I soon decided that it was not large enough, and its shape did not
agree with the description of Seal Lake that Donald Blake and Duncan
McLean had given me.

During the morning I dropped a troll and landed the first namaycush of
the trip--a seven-pound fish.  The Labrador lakes generally have a
great depth of water, and it is in the deeper water that the very
large namaycush, which grow to an immense size, are to be caught.  Our
outfit did not contain the heavy sinkers and larger trolling spoons
necessary in trolling for these, and we therefore had to content
ourselves with the smaller fish caught in the shallower parts of the
lakes.  We had two more portages before we shot the first rapid of the
trip, and then camped on the shores of a small expansion just above a
wide, shallow rapid where the river swung around a ridge of sand
hills.  This ridge was about two hundred feet in elevation, and
followed the river for some distance below.  In the morning we climbed
it, and walked along its top for a mile or so, to view the rapid, and
suddenly, to the westward, beheld Seal Lake.  It was a great moment,
and we took off our hats and cheered.  The first part of our fight up
the long trail was almost ended.

The upper part of the rapid was too shallow to risk a full load in the
canoes, so we carried a part of our outfit over the ridge to a point
where the river narrowed and deepened, then ran the rapid and picked
up our stuff below.  Not far from here we passed a hill whose head
took the form of a sphinx and we noted it as a remarkable landmark.
Stopping but once to climb a mountain for specimens, at twelve o'clock
we landed on a sandy beach where Babewendigash River emptied its
waters into Seal Lake.  We could hardly believe our good fortune, and
while Pete cooked dinner I climbed a hill to satisfy myself that it
was really Seal Lake.  There was no doubt of it.  It had been very
minutely described and sketched for me by Donald and Duncan.  We had
halted at what they called on their maps "The Narrows," where the lake
narrowed down to a mere strait, and that portion of it below the
canoes was hidden from my view.  It stretched out far to the
northwest, with some distance up a long arm reaching to the west.  A
point which I recognized from Duncan's description as the place where
the winter tilt used by him and Donald was situated extended for some
distance out into the water.  The entire length of Seal Lake is about
forty miles, but only about thirty miles of it could be seen from the
elevation upon which I stood.  Its shores are generally well wooded
with a growth of young spruce.  High hills surround it.

We visited the tilt as we passed the point and, in accordance with an
arrangement made with Duncan, added to our stores about twenty-five
pounds of flour that he had left there during the previous winter.
Five miles above the point where Babewendigash River empties into Seal
Lake we entered the Nascaupee, up which we paddled two miles to the
first short rapid.  This we tracked, and then made camp on an island
where the river lay placid and the wind blew cool and refreshing.

Long we sat about our camp fire watching the glories of the northern
sunset, and the new moon drop behind the spruce-clad hills, and the
aurora in all its magnificence light our silent world with its
wondrous fire.  Finally the others left me to go to their blankets.

When I was alone I pushed in the ends of the burning logs and sat down
to watch the blaze as it took on new life.  Gradually, as I gazed into
its depths, fantasy brought before my eyes the picture of another camp
fire.  Hubbard was sitting by it.  It was one of those nights in the
hated Susan Valley.  We had been toiling up the trail for days, and
were ill and almost disheartened; but our camp fire and the relaxation
from the day's work were giving us the renewed hope and cheer that
they always brought, and rekindled the fire of our half-lost
enthusiasm.  "Seal Lake can't be far off now," Hubbard was saying.
"We're sure to reach it in a day or two.  Then it'll be easy work to
Michikamau, and we 'll soon be with the Indians after that, and forget
all about this hard work.  We'll be glad of it all when we get home,
for we're going to have a bully trip." How much lighter my pack felt
the next day, when I recalled his words of encouragement!  How we
looked and looked for Seal Lake, but never found it.  It lay hidden
among those hills that were away to the northward of us, with its
waters as placid and beautiful as they were to-day when we passed
through it.  I had never seen Michikamau.  Was I destined to see it
now?

The fire burned low.  Only a few glowing coals remained, and as they
blackened my picture dissolved.  The aurora, like a hundred
searchlights, was whipping across the sky.  The forest with its hidden
mysteries lay dark beneath.  A deep, impenetrable silence brooded over
all.  The vast, indescribable loneliness of the wilderness possessed
my soul.  I tried to shake off the feeling of desolation as I went to
my bed of boughs.

To-morrow a new stage of our journey would begin.  It was ho for
Michikamau!



CHAPTER IX

WE LOSE THE TRAIL

Saturday morning, August fifth, broke with a radiance and a glory
seldom equaled even in that land of glorious sunrises and sunsets.  A
flame of red and orange in the east ushered in the rising sun, not a
cloud marred the azure of the heavens, the moss was white with frost,
and the crisp, clear atmosphere sweet with the scent of the new day.
Labrador was in her most amiable mood, displaying to the best
advantage her peculiar charms and beauties.

While we ate a hurried breakfast of corn-meal mush, boiled fat pork
and tea, and broke camp, Michikamau was the subject of our
conversation, for now it was ho for the big lake!  A rapid advance was
expected upon the river, and the trail above, where it left the
Nascaupee to avoid the rapids which the Indians had told us about,
would probably be found without trouble.  So this new stage of our
journey was begun with something of the enthusiasm that we had felt
the day we left Tom Blake's cabin and started up Grand Lake.

We had gone but a mile when Pete drew his paddle from the water and
pointed with it at a narrow, sandy beach ahead, above which rose a
steep bank.  Almost at the same instant I saw the object of his
interests--a buck caribou asleep on the sand.  The wind was blowing
toward the river, and maintaining absolute silence, we landed below a
bend that hid us from the caribou.  Fresh meat was in sight and we
must have it, for we were hungry now for venison.  To cover the
retreat of the animal should it take alarm, Pete was to go on the top
of the bank above it, Easton to take a stand opposite it and I a
little below it.  We crawled to our positions with the greatest care;
but the caribou was alert.  The shore breeze carried to it the scent
of danger, and almost before we knew, that we were discovered it was
on its feet and away.  For a fraction of a second I had one glimpse of
the animal through the brush.  Pete did not see it when it started,
but heard it running up the shore, and away be started in that
direction, running and leaping recklessly over the fallen tree trunks.
Presently the caribou turned from the river and showed itself on the
burned plateau above, two hundred yards from Pete.  The Indian halted
for a moment and fired--then fired again.  I hastened up and came upon
Pete standing by the prostrate caribou and grinning from ear to ear.

The carcass was quickly skinned and the meat stripped from the bones
and carried to the canoe.  Here on the shore we made a fire, broiled
some thick luscious steaks, roasted some marrow bones and made tea.
All the bones except the marrow bones of the legs were abandoned as an
unnecessary weight.  Pete broke a hole through one of the shoulder
blades and stuck it on a limb of a tree above the reach of animals.
That, you know, insures further good luck in hunting.  It is a sort of
offering to the Manitou.  We took the skin with us.  "Maybe we need
him for something," said Pete.  "Clean and smoke him nice, me; maybe
mend clothes with him."

The larger pieces of our venison were to be roasted when we halted in
the evening.  We could not dally now, and I chose this method of
preserving the meat, rather than "jerk" it (that is, dry it in the
open air over a smoky fire), which would have necessitated a halt of
three or four days.

Within three hours after we had first seen the caribou we were on our
way again.  The river up which we were passing was from two to four
hundred yards in width, and with the exception of an occasional rock,
had a gravelly bottom, and the banks were generally low and gravelly.
A little distance back ridges of low hills paralleled the stream, and
on the south side behind the lower ridge was a higher one of rough
hills; but none of them with an elevation above the valley of more
than three hundred feet.  The country had been burned on both sides of
the river and there was little new growth to hide the dead trees.

Twenty-five miles above Seal Lake we encountered a rapid which
necessitated a mile and a half portage around it.  Where we landed to
make the portage I noticed along the edge of the sandy beach a black
band about two feet in width.  I thought at first that the water had
discolored the sand, but upon a closer examination discovered that it
was nothing more nor less than myriads of our black fly pests that had
lost their lives in the water and been washed ashore.

We had much rain and progress was slow and difficult in the face of a
strong wind and current.  Seven or eight miles above the rapid around
which we had portaged we passed into a large expansion of the river
which the Indians at Northwest River Post had told us to look for, and
which they called Wuchusknipi (Big Muskrat) Lake.

High gravelly banks, rising in terraces sometimes fully fifty feet
above the water's edge, had now become the feature of the stream.  The
current increased in strength, and only for short distances above
Wuchusknipi, where the river occasionally broadened, were we able to
paddle.  The tracking lines were brought into service, one man hauling
each canoe, while the others, wading in the water, or walking on the
bank with poles where the stream was too deep to wade, kept the canoes
straight in the current and clear of the shore.  Once when it became
necessary to cross a wide place in the river a squall struck us, and
Richards and Stanton in the smaller canoe were nearly swamped.  The
strong head wind precluded paddling, even when the current would
otherwise have permitted it.

Finally the sky cleared and the wind ceased to blow; but with the calm
came a cause for disquietude.  A light smoke had settled in the valley
and the air held the odor of it, suggesting a forest fire somewhere
above.  This would mean retreat, if not disaster, for when these fires
once start rivers and lakes prove small obstacles in their path.  From
a view-point on the hills no dense smoke could be discovered, only the
light haze that we had seen and smelled in the valley, and we
therefore decided that the gale that had blown for several days from
the northwest may have carried it for a long distance, even from the
district far west of Michikamau, and that at any rate there was no
cause for immediate alarm.

The ridges with an increasing altitude were crowding in upon us more
closely.  Once when we stopped to portage around a low fall we climbed
some of the hills that were near at hand that we might obtain a better
knowledge of the topography of the country than could be had from the
confined river valley.  Away to the northwest we found the country to
be much more rugged than the district we had recently passed through.
Observations showed us that the highest of the hills we were on had an
elevation of six hundred feet above the river.  We had but a single
day of fine weather and then a fog came so thick that we could not see
the opposite banks of the Nascaupee, and after it a cold rain set in
which made our work in the icy current doubly hard.  One morning I
slipped on a bowlder in the river and strained my side, and for me the
remainder of the day was very trying.  That evening we reached a
little group of three or four islands, where the Nascaupee was wide
and shallow, but just above the islands it narrowed down again and a
low fall occurred.  Not far from the fall a small river tumbled down
over the rocks a sheer thirty feet, and emptied into the Nascaupee.
Since leaving Seal Lake we had passed two rivers flowing in from the
north, and this was the second one coming from the south, marking the
point on the Indian map where we were to look for the portage trail
leading to the northward.  Therefore a halt was made and camp was
pitched.

During the night the weather cleared, and Pete, Richards and Easton
were dispatched in the morning to scout the country to the northward
in search of the trail and signs of Indians.  The ligaments of my side
were very stiff and sore from the strain they received the previous
day, and I remained in camp with Stanton to write up my records, take
an inventory of our food supply, and consider plans for the future.

It was August twelfth.  How far we had still to go before reaching
Michikamau was uncertain, but, in view of our experiences below Seal
Lake and the difficulties met with in finding and following the old
Indian trail there, our progress would now, for a time at least, if we
traveled the portage route, be slower than on the river where we had
done fairly well.  True, our outfit was much lighter than it had been
in the beginning, and we were in better shape for packing and were
able to carry heavier loads.  Still we must make two trips over every
portage, and that meant, for every five miles of advance, fifteen
miles of walking and ten of those miles with packs on our backs.  Had
we not better, therefore, abandon the further attempt to locate the
trail and, instead, follow the river which was beyond doubt the
quicker and the easier route?  My inclinations rebelled against this
course.  One of the objects of the expedition, for it was one of the
things that Hubbard had planned to do, was to locate the old trail, if
possible.  To abandon the search for it now, and to follow the easier
route, seemed to me a surrender.

On the other hand, should we not find game or fish and have delays
scouting for the trail, it would be necessary to go on short rations
before reaching Michikamau, for enough food must be held back to take
us out of the country in safety.

In my present consideration of the situation it seemed to me highly
improbable that we could reach George River Post in season to connect
with the Hudson's Bay Company's steamer _Pelican_, which touches there
to land supplies about the middle of September, and that is the only
steamer that ever visits that Post.  Not to connect with the _Pelican_
would, therefore, mean imprisonment in the north for an entire year,
or a return around the coast by dog train in winter.  The former of
these alternatives was out of the question; the latter would be
impossible with an encumbrance of four men, for dog teams and drivers
in the early winter are usually all away to the hunting grounds and
hard to engage.  I therefore concluded that but one course was open to
me.  Three of the men must be sent back and with a single companion I
would push on to Ungava.  This, then, was the line of action I decided
upon.

Toward evening gathering clouds augured an early renewal of the storm,
and Stanton and I had just put up the stove in the tent in
anticipation of it when Pete and Easton, the latter thoroughly fagged
out, came into camp.

"Well, Pete," I asked, "what luck?"

"Find trail all right," he answered.  "Can't follow him easy.  Long
carry.  First lake far, maybe eleven, twelve mile.  Little ponds not
much good for canoe.  Trail old.  Not used long time.  All time go up
hill."

"Where's Richards?" I inquired, noticing his absence.

"Left us about four miles back to take a short cut to the river and
follow it down to camp," said Easton.  "He thought you might want to
know how it looked above, and perhaps keep on that way instead of
tackling the portage, for the trail's going to be mighty hard.  It
looks as though the river would be better."

We waited until near dark for Richards, but he did not come.  Then we
ate our supper without him.

The rain grew into a downpour and darkness came, but no Richards, and
at length I became alarmed for his safety.  I pushed back the tent
flaps and peered out into the pitchy darkness and pouring rain.

"He'll never get in to-night," I remarked.  "No," said some one, "and
he'll have a hard time of it out there in the rain." There was nothing
to do but wait.  Pete rummaged in his bag and produced a candle (we
had a dozen in our outfit), sharpened one end of a stick, split the
other end for two or three inches down, forced open the split end and
set the candle in it and stuck the sharpened end in the ground, all
the while working in the dark.  Then he lit the candle.

I do not know how long we had been sitting by the candle light and
putting forth all sorts of conjectures about Richards and his
uncomfortable position in the bush without cover and the probable
reasons for his failure to return, when the tent front opened and in
he came, as wet as though he had been in the river.

"Well, Richards," I asked, when he was comfortably settled at his
meal, "what do you think of the river?"

"The river!" he paused between mouthfuls to exclaim, "that's the only
thing within twenty miles that I didn't see.  I've been looking for it
for four hours, but it kept changing its location and I never found it
till I struck camp just now."

"Now, boys," said I, when all the pipes were going, "I've something to
say to you.  Up to this time we've had no real hardships to meet.
We've had hard work, and it's been most trying at times, but there's
been no hardship to endure that might not be met with upon any journey
in the bush.  If we go on we _shall_ have hardships, and perhaps, some
pretty severe ones.  There'll soon be sleet and snow in the air, and
cold days and shivery nights, and the portages will be long and hard.
On the whole, there's been plenty to eat--not what we would have had
at home, perhaps, but good, wholesome grub--and we're all in better
condition and stronger than when we started, but flour and pork are
getting low, lentils and corn meal are nearly gone, and short rations,
with hungry days, are soon to come if we don't strike game, and you
know how uncertain that is.  I cannot say what is before us, and I'm
not going to drag you fellows into trouble.  I'm going to ask for one
volunteer to go on with me to Ungava with the small canoe, and let the
rest return from here with the other canoe and what grub they need to
take them out.  Who wants to go home?"

It came to them like a shock.  Outside, the wind howled through the
trees and dashed the rain spitefully against the tent.  The water
dripped through on us, and the candle flickered and sputtered and
almost went out.  In the weird light I could see the faces of the men
work with emotion.  For a moment no one spoke.  Finally Richards, in a
tone of reproach that made me feel sorry for the very suggestion,
asked: "Do you think there's a quitter here?"

The loyalty and grit of the men touched my heart.  Not one of them
would think of leaving me.  Nothing but a positive order would have
turned them back, and I decided to postpone our parting until we
reached Michikaumau at least, if it could be postponed so long
consistently with safety.

The next day was Sunday, and it was spent in rest and in preparation
for our advance up the trail.  The weather was damp and cheerless,
with rain falling intermittently throughout the day.

To cover a possible retreat a cache was made near our camp of thirty
pounds of pemmican in tin cans and forty-five pounds of flour and some
tea in a waterproof bag.  A hole was dug in the ground and the
provisions were deposited in it, then covered with stones as a pro-
tection from animals.

By Monday morning the storm had gained new strength, and steadily and
pitilessly the rain fell, accompanied by a cold, northwest wind.

What narrowly escaped being a serious accident occurred when we halted
that day for dinner.  Easton was cutting firewood, when suddenly he
dropped the ax he was using with the exclamation "That fixes me!" He
had given himself what looked at first like an ugly cut near the shin
bone.  Fortunately, however, upon examination, it proved to be only a
flesh wound and not sufficiently severe to interfere with his
traveling.  Stanton dressed the cut.  Our adhesive plaster we found
had become useless by exposure and electrician's tape was substituted
for it to draw the flesh together.

On the evening of the second day after leaving the Nascaupee, our tent
was pitched upon the site of an extensive but ancient Indian camp
beside a mile-long lake, four hundred and fifty feet above the river.
Five ponds had been passed _en route_, but all of them so small it was
scarcely worth while floating the canoe in any of them.

In these two days we had covered but eleven miles, but during the
whole time the wind had driven the rain in sweeping gusts into our
faces and made it impossible for a man, single-handed, to portage a
canoe.  Thus, with two men to carry each canoe we had been compelled
to make three loads of our outfit, and this meant fifty-five miles
actual walking, and thirty-three miles of this distance with packs on
our backs.  The weather conditions had made the work more than hard--
it was heartrending--as we toiled over naked hills, across marshes and
moraines, or through dripping brush and timber land.

A beautiful afternoon, two days later, found us paddling down the
first lake worthy of mention since leaving the Nascaupee River.  The
azure sky overhead shaded to a pearly blue at the horizon, with a
fleecy cloud or two floating lazily across its face.  The atmosphere
was perfect in its purity, and only the sound of screeching gulls and
the dip of our paddles disturbed the quiet of the wilderness.  Lake
Bibiquasin, as we shall call it, was five miles in length and nestled
between ridges of low, moss-covered hills.  It lay in a southeasterly
and northwesterly direction, and rested upon the summit of a sub-
sidiary divide that we had been gradually ascending.  A creek ran out
of its northwesterly end, flowing in that direction.

Until now we had found the trail with little difficulty, but here we
were baffled.  A search in the afternoon failed to uncover it, and we
were forced to halt, perplexed again as to our course.  Camp was
pitched in a grove of spruces at the lower end of the lake.  Not far
from us was an old hunting camp which Pete said was "most hundred
years old," and he was not far wrong in his estimate, for the frames
upon which the Indians had stretched skins and the tepee poles
crumbled to pieces when we touched them.

Strange to say, not a fish of any description had been seen for
several days and not one could be induced to rise to fly or bait, and
our net was always empty now.  Game, too, was scarce.  There were no
fresh caribou tracks this side of the Nascaupee River, and but one
duck and one spruce partridge had been killed.  The last bit of our
venison was eaten the day before.  It was pretty badly spoiled and
turning a little green in color, but Pete washed it well several times
and we all avoided the lee side of the kettle while it was cooking.
It was pronounced "not so bad."

Another day was lost on Lake Bibiquasin in an ineffectual hunt for the
trail.  I scouted alone all day and in my wanderings came upon the
first ptarmigans of the trip and shot one of them with my rifle.  The
others flew away.  They wore their mottled summer coat, as it was
still too early for them to don their pure white dress of winter.

During my scouting trip I also discovered the first ripe bake-apple
berries we had seen.  This is a salmon-colored berry resembling in
size and shape the raspberry, and grows on a low plant like the
strawberry.

On Saturday morning, August nineteenth, the temperature was four
degrees below the freezing point, and the ground was stiff with frost.
In a further search on the north side of the lake opposite our camp we
found an old blaze and a trail leading from it along a ridge and
through marshes to a small lake.  This was the only trail that we
could find anywhere, so we decided to follow it, though it did not
bear all the earmarks of the portage trail we had been tracing--it was
decidedly more ancient.  We started our work with a will.  It was a
hard portage and we sometimes sank knee deep into the marsh and got
mired frequently, but finally reached the lake.

Indian signs now completely disappeared.  Down the lake, where a creek
flowed out, was a bare hill, and Pete and I climbed it.  From its
summit we could easily locate the creek taking a turn to the north and
then to the northeast and, finally, flowing into one of a series of
lakes extending in an easterly and westerly direction.  The land was
comparatively flat to the eastward and the lakes no doubt fed a river
flowing out of that end, probably one of those that we had noted as
joining the Nascaupee on its north side.  To the north of these lakes
were high, rugged ridges.  It was possible there was an opening in the
hills to the westward, where they seemed lower; we could not tell from
where we were, but we determined to portage along the creek into the
lakes with that hope.

Again the smoke of a forest fire hung in the valleys and over the
hills, and the air was heavy with the smell of it, which revived the
former uneasiness, but by the next day every trace of it had
disappeared.

Another day found us afloat upon the first of the lakes.  Several
short carries across necks of land took us from this lake into the one
which Pete and I had seen extending back to the ridges to the
westward, and which we shall call Lake Desolation.

On the northern shore of Lake Desolation we stopped to climb a
mountain.  A decided change in the features of the country had taken
place since leaving Lake Bibiquasin, and the low moss-covered hills
had given place to rough mountains of bare rock.  To the northward
from where we stood nothing but higher mountains of similar formation
met our view--a great, rolling vista of bare, desolate rocks.  To the
westward the country was not, perhaps, so rough, though there, too, in
the far distance could be discerned the tops of rugged hills breaking
the line of the horizon.  Through a valley in that direction was
distinguishable, with a considerable interval between them, a string
of small lakes or ponds.  This valley led up from the western end of
Lake Desolation, and there was no other possible place for the trail
to leave the lake.  The valley was the only opening.

Our mountain climbing had consumed a good part of an afternoon, and it
was evening when finally we reached the western end of the lake and
pitched our camp near a creek flowing in.  As we paddled we tried our
trolls, but were not rewarded with a single strike.  When camp was
made the net was stretched across the creek's mouth and we tried our
rods in the stream for trout, but our efforts were useless.  No fish
were caught.

The prospect for game had not improved, in fact was growing steadily
worse.  We were now in a country that had been desolated by a forest
fire within four or five years.  The moss under foot had not renewed
itself and where any of it remained at all, it was charred and black.
The trees were dead and the land harbored almost no life.  It seemed
to me that even the fish had been scalded out of the water and the
streams had never restocked themselves.

A thorough search was made for Indian signs, but there were absolutely
none.  There was nothing to show that any human being had ever been
here before us.  Back on Lake Bibiquasin we had lost the trail and now
on Lake Desolation we were far and hopelessly astray, with only the
compass to guide us.

After supper the men sat around the camp fire, smoking and talking of
their friends at home, while I walked alone by the lake shore.  It was
a wild scene that lay before me--the aurora, with its waves of
changing color flashing weirdly as they swept and lighted the sky, the
dead trees everywhere like skeletons gray and gaunt, the blazing camp
fire in the foreground, with the figures lying about it and the little
white tent in the background.  Somewhere hidden in the depths of that
vast and silent wilderness to the westward lay Michikamau.

There was no mark on the face of the earth to direct us on our road.
We must blaze a new trail up that valley and over those ridges that
looked so dark and forbidding in the uncertain light of the aurora.
We must find Michikamau.



CHAPTER X

"WE SEE MICHIKAMAU"

"It's no use, Pete.  You may as well go back to your blankets."

It was the morning of the second day after reaching the lake which we
named Desolation.  We had portaged through a valley and over a low
ridge to the shores of a pond, out of which a small stream ran to the
southeast.  The country was devastated by fire and to the last degree
inhospitable.  Not a green shrub over two feet in height was to be
seen, the trees were dead and blackened; not even the customary moss
covered the naked earth, and loose bowlders were scattered everywhere
about.

There was no fixed trail now to look for or to guide us, but by
keeping a general westerly course, we knew that we must, sooner or
later, reach Michikamau.  Rough, irregular ridges blocked our path and
it was necessary to look ahead that we might not become tangled up
amongst them.  One hill, higher than the others, a solitary bailiff
that guarded the wilderness beyond, was to have been climbed this
morning, but when Pete and I at daybreak came out of the tent we were
met by driving rain and dashes of sleet that cut our faces, and a mist
hung over the earth so thick we could not even see across the tiny
lake at our feet.  I looked longingly into the storm and mist in the
direction in which I knew the big hill lay, and realized the
hopelessness and foolhardiness of attempting to reach it.

"It's no use, Pete," I continued, "to try to scout in this storm.  You
could see nothing from the hill if you reached it, and the chances
are, with every landmark hidden, you couldn't find the tent again.  I
don't want to lose you yet.  Go back and sleep."

Later in the morning to my great relief the weather cleared, and
Richards and Pete were at once dispatched to scout.  We who remained
"at home," as we called our camp, found plenty of work to keep us
occupied.  The bushes had ravaged our clothing to such an extent that
some of us were pretty ragged, and every halt was taken advantage of
to make much needed repairs.

It was nearly dark when Richards and Pete came back.  They had reached
the high hill and from its summit saw, some distance to the westward,
long stretches of water reaching far away to the hills in that
direction.  A portage of several miles in which some small lakes
occurred would take us, they said, into a large lake.  Beyond this
they could not see.

Pete brought back with him a hatful of ripe currants which he stewed
and which proved a very welcome addition to our supper of corn-meal
mush.

The report of water ahead made us happy.  It was now August twenty-
third.  If we could reach Michikamau by September first that should
give me ample time, I believed, to reach the George River before the
caribou migration would take place.

The following morning we started forward with a will, and with many
little lakes to cross and short portages between them, we made fairly
good progress, and each lake took us one step higher on the plateau.

The character of the country was changing, too.  The naked land and
rocks and dead trees gave way to a forest of green spruce, and the
ground was again covered with a thick carpet of white caribou moss.

We were catching no fish, however, although our efforts to lure them
to the hook or entangle them in the net were never relinquished.  Pork
was a luxury, and no baker ever produced anything half so dainty and
delicious as our squaw bread.  A strict distribution of rations was
maintained, and when the pork was fried, Pete, with a spoon, dished
out the grease into the five plates in equal shares.  Into this the
quarter loaf ration of bread was broken and the mixture eaten to the
last morsel.  Sometimes the men drank the warm pork grease clear.
Finally it became so precious that they licked their plates after
scraping them with their spoons, and the longing eyes that were cast
at the frying pan made me fear that some time a raid would be made on
that.

One day, an owl was shot and went into the pot to keep company with a
couple of partridges.  Pete demurred.  "Owl eat mice," said he.  "Not
good man eat him.

"You can count me out on owl, too," Richards volunteered.

"Oh! they're all right," I assured them.  "The Labrador people always
eat them and you'll find them very nice."

"Not me.  Owl eat mice," Pete insisted.

"Well," I suggested, "possibly we'll be eating mice, too, before we
get home, and it's a good way to begin by eating owl--for then the
mice won't seem so bad when we have to eat them."

Stanton took charge of the kettle and dished out the rations that
night.

"Partridge is good enough for me," said Richards, fearing that Stanton
might forget his prejudice against owl.

"Me, too," echoed Pete.

"I'll take owl," said I.

Easton said nothing.

After we had eaten, Stanton asked: "How'd you like the partridge,
Richards?"

"It was fine," said he.  "Guess it was a piece of a young one you gave
me, for it wasn't as tough as they usually are."

"Maybe it was young, but that partridge was _owl_."  "I'll be darned!"
exclaimed Richards.  His face was a study for a moment, then he
laughed.  "If that was owl they're all right and I'm a convert.  I'll
eat all I can get after this."

After leaving Lake Desolation the owls had begun to come to us, and
Richards was one of the best owl hunters of the party.  At first one
or two a day were killed, but now whenever we halted an owl would fly
into a tree and twitter, and, with a very wise appearance, proceed to
look us over as though he wanted to find out what we were up to
anyway, for these owls were very inquisitive fellows.  He immediately
became a candidate for our pot, and as many as six were shot in one
day.  The men called them the "manna of the Labrador wilderness."
Pete's disinclination to eat them was quickly forgotten, for hunger is
a wonderful killer of prejudices, and he was as keen for them now as
any of us.

An occasional partridge was killed and now and again a black duck or
two helped out our short ration, but the owls were our mainstay.  We
did not have enough to satisfy the appetites of five hungry men,
however; still we did fairly well.

The days were growing perceptibly shorter with each sunset, and the
nights were getting chilly.  On the night of August twenty-fifth, the
thermometer registered a minimum temperature of twenty-five degrees
above zero, and on the twenty-sixth of August, forty-eight degrees was
the maximum at midday.

During the forenoon of that day we reached the largest of the lakes
that the scouting party had seen three days before, and further
scouting was now necessary.  At the western end of the lake, about two
miles from where we entered, a hill offered itself as a point from
which to view the country beyond, and here we camped.

We were now out of the burned district and the scant growth of timber
was apparently the original growth, though none of the trees was more
than eight inches or so in diameter.  In connection with this it might
be of interest to note here the fact that the timber line ended at an
elevation of two hundred and seventy-five feet above the lake.  The
hill was four hundred feet high and there was not a vestige of
vegetation on its summit.  The top of the hill was strewn with
bowlders, large and small, lying loose upon the clean, storm-scoured
bed rock, just as the glaciers had left them.

What a view we had!  To the northwest, to the west, and to the
southwest, for fifty miles in any direction was a network of lakes,
and the country was as level as a table.  The men called it "the plain
of a thousand lakes," and this describes it well.  To the far west a
line of blue hills extending to the northwest and southeast cut off
our view beyond.  They were low, with but one high, conical peak
standing out as a landmark.  Another ridge at right angles to this one
ran to the eastward, bounding the lakes on that side.  I examined them
carefully through my binoculars and discovered a long line of water,
like a silver thread, following the ridge running eastward, and
decided that this must be the Nascaupee River, though later I was
convinced that I was mistaken and that the river lay to the southward
of the ridge.  To the cast and north of our hill was an expanse of
rolling, desolate wilderness.  Carefully I examined with my glass the
great plain of lakes, hoping that I might discover the smoke of a
wigwam fire or some other sign of life, but none was to be seen.  It
was as still and dead as the day it was created.  It was a solemn,
awe-inspiring scene, impressive beyond description, and one that I
shall not soon forget.

We outlined as carefully as possible the course that we should follow
through the maze of lakes, with the round peak as our objective point,
for just south of it there seemed to be an opening through the ridge:
beyond which we hoped lay Michikamau.

The next day we portaged through a marsh and into the lake country and
made some progress, portaging from lake to lake across swampy and
marshy necks.  It was Sunday, but we did not realize it until our
day's work was finished and we were snug in camp in the evening.

Monday's dawn brought with it a day of superb loveliness.  The sky was
cloudless, the earth was white with hoarfrost, the atmosphere was
crisp and cool, and we took deep breaths of it that sent the blood
tingling through our veins.  It was a day that makes one love life.

Through small lakes and short portages we worked until afternoon and
then--hurrah! we were on big water again.  Thirty or forty miles in
length the lake stretched off to the westward to carry us on our way.
It was choked in places with many fir-topped islands, and the channels
in and out amongst these islands were innumerable, so Pete called it
Lake Kasheshebogamog, which in his language means "Lake of Many
Channels."

As we paddled I dropped a troll and before we stopped for the night
landed a seven-pound namaycush, and another large one broke a troll.
The "Land of God's Curse" was behind us.  We were with the fish again,
and caribou and wolf tracks were seen.

The next day found us on our way early.  A fine wind sent us spinning
before it and at the same time kept us busy with a rough sea that was
running on the wide, open lake when we were away from the shelter of
the islands.  At one o'clock we boiled the kettle at the foot of a low
sand ridge, and upon climbing the ridge we found it covered with a
mass of ripe blueberries.  We ate our fill and picked some to carry
with us.

At three o'clock we were brought up sharply at the end of the water
with no visible outlet.  The nature of the lake and the lateness of
the season made it impracticable to turn back and look in other
channels for the connection with western waters.  Former experience
had taught me that we might paddle around for a week before we found
it, for these were big waters.  Five miles ahead was the high, round
peak that we were aiming for, and I had every confidence that from its
top Michikamau could be seen and a way to reach the big lake.  I
decided that it must be climbed the next morning, and selected Pete
and Easton for the work.  A fall the day before had given me a stiff
knee, and it was a bitter disappointment that I could not go myself,
for I was nervously anxious for a first view of Michikamau.  However,
I realized that it was unwise to attempt the journey, and I must stay
behind.

That night Stanton made two roly-polies of the blueberries we picked
in the afternoon, boiling them in specimen bags, and we used the last
of our sugar for sauce.  This, with coffee, followed a good supper of
boiled partridge and owl.  It was like the old days when I was with
Hubbard.  We were making good progress, our hopes ran high, and we
must feast.  Pete's laughs, and songs and jokes added to our
merriment.  Rain came, but we did not mind that.  We sat by a big,
blazing fire and ate and enjoyed ourselves in spite of it.  Then we
went to the tent to smoke and every one pronounced it the best night
in weeks.

On Wednesday rain poured down at the usual rising time and the men
were delayed in starting, for we were in a place where scouting in
thick weather was dangerous.  It was the morning of the famous
eclipse, but we had forgotten the fact.  The rain had fallen away to a
drizzle and we were eating a late breakfast when the darkness came.
It did not last long, and then the rain stopped, though the sky was
still overcast.  Shortly after breakfast Pete and Easton left us.  I
gave Pete a new corncob pipe as he was leaving.  When he put it in his
pocket he said, "I smoke him when I see Michikaman, when I climb hill,
if Michikamau there.  Sit down, me, look at big water, feel good then.
Smoke pipe, me, and call hill Corncob Hill."

"All right," said I, laughing at Pete's fancy.  "I hope the hill will
have a name to-day."

It was really a day of anxiety for me, for if Michikamau were not
visible from the mountain top with the wide view of country that it
must offer, then we were too far away from the lake to hope to reach
it.

A mile from camp, Richards discovered a good-sized river flowing in
from the northwest and set the net in it. Then he and Stanton paddled
up the river a mile and a half to another lake, but did not explore it
farther.

With what impatience I awaited the return of Pete and Easton can be
imagined, and when, near dusk, I saw them coming I almost dreaded to
hear their report, for what if they had not seen Michikamau?

But they had seen Michikamau.  When Pete was within talking distance
of me, he shouted exultantly, "We see him!  We see him!  We see
Michikamau!"



CHAPTER XI

THE PARTING AT MICHIKAMAU

Pete and Easton had taken their course through small, shallow, rocky
lakes until they neared the base of the round hill.  Here the canoe
was left, and up the steep side of the hill they climbed.  "When we
most up," Pete told me afterward, "I stop and look at Easton.  My
heart beat fast.  I most afraid to look.  Maybe Michikamau not there.
Maybe I see only hills.  Then I feel bad.  Make me feel bad come back
and tell you Michikamau not there.  I see you look sorry when I tell
you that.  Then I think if Michikamau there you feel very good.  I
must know quick.  I run.  I run fast.  Hill very steep.  I do not
care.  I must know soon as I can, and I run.  I shut my eyes just
once, afraid to look.  Then I open them and look.  Very close I see
when I open my eyes much water.  Big water.  So big I see no land when
I look one way; just water.  Very wide too, that water.  I know I see
Michikamau.  My heart beat easy and I feel very glad.  I almost cry.
I remember corncob pipe you give me, and what I tell you.  I take pipe
out my pocket.  I fill him, and light him.  Then I sit on rock and
smoke.  All the time I look at Michikamau.  I feel good and I say,
'This we call Corncob Hill.'"

And so we were all made glad and the conical peak had a name.

Pete told me that we should have to cut the ridge to the south of
Corncob Hill, taking a rather wide detour to reach the place.  A chain
of lakes would help us, but some long portages were necessary and it
would require several days' hard work.  This we did not mind now.  We
were only anxious to dip our paddles into the waters of the big lake.
At last Michikamau, which I had so longed to see through two summers
of hardship in the Labrador wilds, was near, and I could hope to be
rewarded with a look at it within the week.

But with the joy of it there was also a sadness, for I must part from
three of my loyal companions.  The condition of our commissariat and
the cold weather that was beginning to be felt made it imperative that
the men be sent back from the big lake.

The possibility of this contingency had been foreseen by me before
leaving New York, and I had mentioned it at that time.  Easton had
asked me then, if the situation would permit of it, to consider him as
a candidate to go through with me to Ungava.  When the matter had been
suggested at the last camp on the Nascaupee River be had again
earnestly solicited me to choose him as my companion, and upon several
subsequent occasions had mentioned it.  Richards was the logical man
for me to choose, for he had had experience in rapids, and could also
render me valuable assistance in the scientific work that the others
were not fitted for.  He was exceedingly anxious to continue the
journey, but his university duties demanded his presence in New York
in the winter, and I had promised his people that he should return
home in the autumn.  This made it out of the question to keep him with
me, and it was a great disappointment to both of us.  That I might
feel better assured of the safety of the returning men, I decided to
send Pete back with them to act as their guide.  Stanton, too, wished
to go on, but Easton had spoken first, so I decided to give him the
opportunity to go with me to Ungava, as my sole companion.

That night, after the others had gone to bed, we two sat late by the
camp fire and talked the matter over.  "It's a dangerous undertaking,
Easton," I said, "and I want you to understand thoroughly what you're
going into.  Before we reach the George River Post we shall have over
four hundred miles of territory to traverse.  We may have trouble in
locating the George River, and when we do find it there will be heavy
rapids to face, and its whole course will be filled with perils.  If
any accident happens to either of us we shall be in a bad fix.  For
that reason it's always particularly dangerous for less than three men
to travel in a country like this.  Then there's the winter trip with
dogs.  Every year natives are caught in storms, and some of them
perish.  We shall be exposed to the perils and hardships of one of the
longest dog trips ever made in a single season, and we shall be
traveling the whole winter.  I want you to understand this."

"I do understand it," he answered, "and I'm ready for it. I want to go
on."

And so it was finally settled.

It was not easy for me to tell the men that the time had come when we
must part, for I realized how hard it would be for them to turn back.
The next morning after breakfast, I asked them to remain by the fire
and light their pipes.  Then I told them.  Richards' eyes filled with
tears.  Stanton at first said he would not turn back without me, but
finally agreed with me that it was best he should.  Pete urged me to
let him go on.  Later he stole quietly into the tent, where I was
alone writing, and without a word sat opposite me, looking very woe-
begone.  After awhile he spoke: "To-day I feel very sad.  I forget to
smoke.  My pipe go out and I do not light it.  I think all time of
you.  Very lonely, me.  Very bad to leave you."

Here he nearly broke down, and for a little while he could not speak.
When he could control himself he continued:

"Seems like I take four men in bush, lose two.  Very bad, that.  Don't
know how I see your sisters.  I go home well.  They ask me, 'Where my
brother?'  I don't know.  I say nothing.  Maybe you die in rapids.
Maybe you starve.  I don't know.  I say nothing.  Your sisters cry."
Then his tone changed from brokenhearted dejection to one of eager
pleading:

"Wish you let me go with you.  Short grub, maybe.  I hunt.  Much
danger; don't care, me.  Don't care what danger.  Don't care if grub
short.  Maybe you don't find portage.  Maybe not find river.  That
bad.  I find him.  I take you through.  I bring you back safe to your
sisters.  Then I speak to them and they say I do right."

It was hard to withstand Pete's pleadings, but my duty was plain, and
I said:

"No, Pete.  I'd like to take you through, but I've got to send you
back to see the others safely out.  Tell my sisters I'm safe.  Tell
everybody we're safe.  I'm sure we'll get through all right.  We'll do
our best, and trust to God for the rest, so don't worry.  We'll be all
right."

"I never think you do this," said he.  "I don't think you leave me
this way." After a pause be continued, "If grub short, come back.
Don't wait too long.  If you find Indian, then you all right.  He help
you.  You short grub, don't find Indian, that bad.  Don't wait till
grub all gone.  Come back."

Pete did not sing that day, and he did not smoke.  He was very sad and
quiet.

We spent the day in assorting and dividing the outfit, the men making
a cache of everything that they would not need until their return,
that we might not be impeded in our progress to Michikamau.  They
would get their things on their way back.  Eight days, Pete said,
would see them from this point to the cache we had made on the
Nascaupee, and only eight days' rations would they accept for the
journey.  They were more than liberal.  Richards insisted that I take
a new Pontiac shirt that he had reserved for the cold weather, and
Pete gave me a new pair of larigans.  They deprived themselves that we
might be comfortable.  Easton and I were to have the tent, the others
would use the tarpaulin for a wigwam shelter; each party would have
two axes, and the other things were divided as best we could.
Richards presented us with a package that we were not to open until
the sixteenth of September--his birthday.  It was a special treat of
some kind.

Some whitefish, suckers and one big pike were taken out of the net,
which was also left for them to pick up upon their return.  A school
of large pike had torn great holes in it, but it was still useful.

We were a sorrowful group that gathered around the fire that night.
The evening was raw.  A cold north wind soughed wearily through the
fir tops.  Black patches of clouds cast a gloom over everything, and
there was a vast indefiniteness to the dark spruce forest around us.
I took a flashlight picture of the men around the fire.  Then we sat
awhile and talked, and finally went to our blankets in the chilly
tent.

September came with a leaden sky and cold wind, but the clouds were
soon dispelled, and the sun came bright and warm.  Our progress was
good, though we had several portages to make.  On September second, at
noon, we left the larger canoe for the men to get on their way back,
and continued with the eighteen-foot canoe, which, with its load of
outfit and five men, was very deep in the water, but no wind blew and
the water was calm.

Here the character of the lakes changed.  The waters were deep and
black, the shores were steep and rocky, and some labradorite was seen.
One small, curious island, evidently of iron, though we did not stop
to examine it, took the form of a great head sticking above the water,
with the tops of the shoulders visible.

Sunday, September third, was a memorable day, a day that I shall never
forget while I live.  The morning came with all the glories of a
northern sunrise, and the weather was perfect.  After two short
portages and two small lakes were crossed, Pete said, "Now we make
last portage and we reach Michikamau." It was not a long portage--a
half mile, perhaps.  We passed through a thick-grown defile, Pete
ahead, and I close behind him.  Presently we broke through the bush
and there before us was the lake.  We threw down our packs by the
water's edge.  _We had reached Michikamau._  I stood uncovered as I
looked over the broad, far-reaching waters of the great lake.  I
cannot describe my emotions.  I was living over again that beautiful
September day two years before when Hubbard had told me with so much
joy that he had seen the big lake--that Michikamau lay just beyond the
ridge.  Now I was on its very shores--the shores of the lake that we
had so longed to reach.  How well I remembered those weary wind-bound
days, and the awful weeks that followed.  It was like the recollection
of a horrid dream--his dear, wan face, our kiss and embrace, my going
forth into the storm and the eternity of horrors that was crowded into
days.  Pete, I think, understood, for he bad heard the story.  He
stood for a moment in silence, then he fashioned his hat brim into a
cup, and dipping some water handed it to me.  "You reach Michikamau at
last.  Drink Michikamau water before others come."  I drank reverently
from the hat.  Then the others joined us and we all stood for a little
with bowed uncovered beads, on the shore.

Our camp was pitched on an elevated, rocky point a few hundred yards
farther up--the last camp that we were to have together, and the
forty-sixth since leaving Northwest River.  We had made over half a
hundred portages, and traveled about three hundred and twenty-five
miles.

The afternoon was occupied in writing letters and telegrams to the
home folks, for Richards to take out with him; after which we divided
the food.  Easton and I were to take with us seventy-eight pounds of
pemmican, twelve pounds of pea meal, seven pounds of pork, some beef
extract, eight pounds of flour, one cup of corn meal, a small quantity
of desiccated vegetables, one pound of coffee, two pounds of tea, some
salt and crystallose.  Richards gave us nearly all of his tobacco, and
Pete kept but two plugs for himself.

Toward evening we gathered about our fire, and talked of our parting
and of the time when we should meet again.  Every remaining moment we
had of each other's company was precious to us now.

The day had been glorious and the night was one of rare beauty.  We
built a big fire of logs, and by its light I read aloud, in accordance
with our custom on Sunday nights, a chapter from the Bible.  After
this we talked for a while, then sat silent, gazing into the glowing
embers of our fire.  Finally Pete began singing softly, "Home, Sweet
Home" in Indian, and followed it with an old Ojibway song, "I'm Going
Far Away, My Heart Is Sore."  Then he sang an Indian hymn, "Pray For
Me While I Am Gone."  When his hymn was finished he said, very
reverently, "I going pray for you fellus every day when I say my
prayers.  I can't pray much without my book, but I do my best.  I pray
the best I can for you every day."  Pete's devotion was sincere, and I
thanked him.  Stanton sang a solo, and then all joined in "Auld Lang
Syne."  After this Pete played softly on the harmonica, while we
watched the moon drop behind the horizon in the west.  The fire burned
out and its embers blackened.  Then we went to our bed of fragrant
spruce boughs, to prepare for the day of our parting.

The morning of September fourth was clear and beautiful and perfect,
but in spite of the sunshine and fragrance that filled the air our
hearts were heavy when we gathered at our fire to eat the last meal
that we should perhaps ever have together.

When we were through, I read from my Bible the fourteenth of John--the
chapter that I had read to Hubbard that stormy October morning when we
said good-by forever.

The time of our parting had come.  I do not think I had fully realized
before how close my bronzed, ragged boys had grown to me in our months
of constant companionship.  A lump came in my throat, and the tears
came to the eyes of Richards and Pete, as we grasped each other's
hands.

Then we left them.  Easton and I dipped our paddles into the water,
and our lonely, perilous journey toward the dismal wastes beyond the
northern divide was begun.  Once I turned to see the three men, with
packs on their backs, ascending the knoll back of the place where our
camp had been.  When I looked again they were gone.



CHAPTER XII

OVER THE NORTHERN DIVIDE

Michikamau is approximately between eighty and ninety miles in length,
including the unexplored southeast bay, and from eight to twenty-five
miles in width.  It is surrounded by rugged hills, which reach an
elevation of about five hundred feet above the lake.  They are
generally wooded for perhaps two hundred feet from the base, with
black spruce, larch, and an occasional small grove of white birch.
Above the timber line their tops are uncovered save by white lichens
or stunted shrubs.  The western side of the lake is studded with low
islands, but its main body is unobstructed.  The water is exceedingly
clear, and is said by the Indians to have a great depth.  The shores
are rocky, sometimes formed of massive bed rock in which is found the
beautifully colored labradorite; sometimes strewn with loose bowlders.
Our entrance had been made in a bay several miles north of the point
where the Nascaupee River, its outlet, leaves the lake and we kept to
the east side as we paddled north.

No artist's imaginative brush ever pictured such gorgeous sunsets and
sunrises as Nature painted for us here on the Great Lake of the
Indians.  Every night the sun went down in a blaze of glory and left
behind it all the colors of the spectrum.  The dark hills across the
lake in the west were silhouetted against a sky of brilliant red which
shaded off into banks of orange and amber that reached the azure at
the zenith.  The waters of the lake took the reflection of the red at
the horizon and became a flood of restless blood.  The sky colorings
during these few days were the finest that I ever saw in Labrador, not
only in the evening but in the morning also.

Michikamau has a bad name amongst the Indians for heavy seas,
particularly in the autumn months when the northwest gales sometimes
blow for weeks at a time without cessation, and the Indians say that
they are often held on its shores for long periods by high running
seas that no canoe could weather.  These were the same winds that held
Hubbard and me prisoners for nearly two weeks on the smaller Windbound
Lake in 1903, bringing us to the verge of starvation before we were
permitted to begin our race for life down the trail toward Northwest
River.  Fate was kinder now, and but one day's rough water interfered
with progress.

Early on the third day after parting from the other men, we found
ourselves at the end of Michikamau where a shallow river, in which
large bowlders were thickly scattered, flowed into it from the north.
This was the stream draining Lake Michikamats, the next important
point in our journey.  Michikamau, it might be explained, means, in
the Indian tongue, big water--so big you cannot see the land beyond;
Michikamats means a smaller body of water beyond which land may be
seen.  So somebody has paradoxically defined it "a little big lake."

Barring a single expansion of somewhat more than a mile in length the
Michakamats River, which runs through a flat, marshy and uninteresting
country, was too shallow to float our canoes, and we were compelled to
portage almost its entire length.

In the wide marshes between these two lakes we met the first evidences
of the great caribou migration.  The ground was tramped like a
barnyard, in wide roads, by vast herds of deer, all going to the
eastward.  There must have been thousands of them in the bands.  Most
of the hoof marks were not above a day or two old and had all been
made since the last rain had fallen, as was evidenced by freshly
turned earth and newly tramped vegetation.  We saw none of the
animals, however, and there were no hills near from which we might
hope to sight the herds.

Evidences of life were increasing and game was becoming abundant as we
approached the height of land.  Some geese and ptarmigans were killed
and a good many of both kinds of birds were seen, as well as some
ducks.  We began to live in plenty now and the twittering owls were
permitted to go unmolested.

Lake Michikamats is irregular in shape, about twenty miles long, and,
exclusive of its arms, from two to six miles wide.  The surrounding
country is flat and marshy, with some low, barren hills on the
westward side of the lake.  The timber growth in the vicinity is
sparse and scrubby, consisting of spruce and tamarack.  The latter had
now taken on its autumnal dress of yellow, and, interspersing the dark
green of the spruce, gave an exceedingly beautiful effect to the
landscape.

Where we entered Michikamats, at its outlet, the lake is very shallow
and filled with bowlders that stand high above the water.  A quarter
of a mile above this point the water deepens, and farther up seems to
have a considerable depth, though we did not sound it.  The western
shore of the upper half is lined with low islands scantily covered
with spruce and tamarack.

During two days that we spent here in a thorough exploration of the
lake, our camp was pitched on an island at the bottom of a bay that,
half way up the lake, ran six miles to the northward.  This was
selected as the most likely place for the portage trail to leave the
lake, as the island had apparently, for a long period, been the
regular rendezvous of Indians, not only in summer, but also in winter.
Tepee poles of all ages, ranging from those that were old and decayed
to freshly cut ones, were numerous.  They were much longer and thicker
than those used by the Indians south of Michikamau.  Here, also, was a
well-built log cache, a permanent structure, which was, no doubt,
regularly used by hunting parties.  Some new snowshoe frames were
hanging on the trees to season before being netted with babiche.  On
the lake shore were some other camping places that had been used
within a few months, and at one of them a newly made "sweat hole,"
where the medicine man had treated the sick.  These sweat holes are
much in favor with the Labrador Indians, both Mountaineers and
Nascaupees.  They are about two feet in depth and large enough in
circumference for a man to sit in the center, surrounded by a circle
of good-sized bowlders.  Small saplings are bent to form a dome-shaped
frame for the top.  The invalid is placed in the center of this circle
of bowlders, which have previously been made very hot, water is poured
on them to produce steam, and a blanket thrown over the sapling frame
to confine the steam.  The Indians have great faith in this treatment
as a cure for almost every malady.

On the mainland opposite the island upon which we were encamped was a
barren hill which we climbed, and which commanded a view of a large
expanse of country.  On the top was a small cairn and several places
where fires had been made--no doubt Indian signal fires.  The fuel for
them must have been carried from the valley below, for not a stick or
bush grew on the hill itself.  "Signal Hill," as we called it, is the
highest elevation for many miles around and a noticeable landmark.

To the northward, at our feet, were two small lakes, and just beyond,
trending somewhat to the northwest, was a long lake reaching up
through the valley until it was lost in the low hills and sparse
growth of trees beyond.  Great bowlders were strewn indiscriminately
everywhere, and the whole country was most barren and desolate.  To
the south of Michikamats was the stretch of flat swamp land which
extended to Michikaman.  Petscapiskau, a prominent and rugged peak on
the west shore of Michikamau near its upper end, stood out against the
distant horizon, a lone sentinel of the wilderness.

The head waters of the George River must now be located.  There was
nothing to guide me in the search, and the Indians at Northwest River
had warned us that we were liable at this point to be led astray by an
entanglement of lakes, but I felt certain that any water flowing
northward that we might come to, in this longitude, would either be
the river itself or a tributary of it, and that some such stream would
certainly be found as soon as the divide was crossed.

With this object in view we kept a course nearly due north, passing
through four good-sized lakes, until, one afternoon, at the end of a
short portage, we reached a narrow, shallow lake lying in an easterly
and westerly direction, whose water was very clear and of a bottle-
green color, in marked contrast to that of the preceding lakes, which
had been of a darker shade.

This peculiarity of the water led me to look carefully for a current
when our canoe was launched, and I believed I noticed one.  Then I
fancied I heard a rapid to the westward.  Easton said there was no
current and he could not hear a rapid, and to satisfy myself, we
paddled toward the sound.  We had not gone far when the current became
quite perceptible, and just above could be seen the waters of a brook
that fed the lake, pouring down through the rocks.  We were on the
George River at last!  Our feelings can be imagined when the full
realization of our good fortune came to us, and we turned our canoe to
float down on the current of the little stream that was to grow into a
mighty river as it carried us on its turbulent bosom toward Ungava
Bay.

The course of the stream here was almost due east.  The surrounding
country continued low and swampy.  Tamarack was the chief timber and
much of it was straight and fine, with some trees fully twelve inches
in diameter at the butt, and fifty feet in height.

A rocky, shallow place in the river that we had to portage brought us
into an expansion of considerable size, and here we pitched our first
camp on the George River.  This was an event that Hubbard had planned
and pictured through the weary weeks of hardship on the Susan Valley
trail and the long portages across the ranges in his expedition of
1903.

"When we reach the George River, we'll meet the Indians and all will
be well," he used to say, and how anxiously we looked forward for that
day, which never came.

At the time when he made the suggestion to turn back from Windbound
Lake I at first opposed it on the ground that we could probably reach
the George River, where game would be found and the Indians would be
met with, in much less time than it would take to make the retreat to
Northwest River.  Finally I agreed that it was best to return.  On the
twenty-first of September the retreat was begun and Hubbard died on
the eighteenth of October.  Now, two years later, I realized that from
Windbound Lake we could have reached Michikamau in five or six days at
the very outside, and less than two weeks, allowing for delays through
bad weather and our weakened condition, would have brought us to the
George River, where, at that time of the year, ducks and ptarmigans
are always plentiful.  All these things I pondered as I sat by this
camp fire, and I asked myself, "Why is it that when Fate closes our
eyes she does not lead us aright?"  Of course it is all conjecture,
but I feel assured that if Hubbard and I had gone on then instead of
turning back, Hubbard would still be with us.

Below the expansion on which our first camp on the river was pitched
the stream trickled through the thickly strewn rocks in a wide bed,
where it took a sharp turn to the northward and emptied into another
expansion several miles in length, with probably a stream joining it
from the northeast, though we were unable to investigate this, as high
winds prevailed which made canoeing difficult, and we had to content
ourselves with keeping a direct course.

It seemed as though with the crossing of the northern divide winter
had come.  On the night we reached the George River the temperature
fell to ten degrees below the freezing point, and the following day it
never rose above thirty-five degrees, and a high wind and snow squalls
prevailed that held traveling in check.  On the morning of the
fifteenth we started forward in the teeth of a gale and the snow so
thick we could not see the shore a storm that would be termed a
"blizzard" in New York--and after two hours' hard work were forced to
make a landing upon a sandy point with only a mile and a quarter to
our credit.

Here we found the first real butchering camp of the Indians--a camp of
the previous spring.  Piles of caribou bones that had been cracked to
extract the marrow, many pairs of antlers, the bare poles of large
lodges and extensive arrangements, such as racks and cross poles for
dressing and curing deerskins.  In a cache we found two muzzle-loading
guns, cooking utensils, steel traps, and other camping and hunting
paraphernalia.

On the portage around the last shallow rapid was a winter camp, where
among other things was a _komatik_ (dog sledge), showing that some of
these Indians at least on the northern barrens used dogs for winter
traveling.  In the south of Labrador this would be quite out of the
question, as there the bush is so thick that it does not permit the
snow to drift and harden sufficiently to bear dogs, and the use of the
komatik is therefore necessarily confined to the coast or near it.
The Indian women there are very timid of the "husky" dogs, and the
animals are not permitted near their camps.

The sixteenth of September--the day we passed through this large
expansion--was Richards' birthday.  When we bade good-by to the other
men it was agreed that both parties should celebrate the day, wherever
they might be, with the best dinner that could be provided from our
respective stores.  The meal was to be served at exactly seven o'clock
in the evening, that we might feel on this one occasion that we were
all sitting down to eat together, and fancy ourselves reunited.  In
the morning we opened the package that Richards gave us, and found in
it a piece of fat pork and a quart of flour, intended for a feast of
our favorite "darn goods."  With self-sacrificing generosity he had
taken these from the scanty rations they had allowed themselves for
their return that we might have a pleasant surprise.  With the now
plentiful game this made it possible to prepare what seemed to us a
very elaborate menu for the wild wastes of interior Labrador.  First,
there was bouillon, made from beef capsules; then an entr'ee of fried
ptarmigan and duck giblets; a roast of savory black duck, with spinach
(the last of our desiccated vegetables); and for dessert French toast
_'a la Labrador_ (alias darn goods), followed by black coffee.  When
it was finished we spent the evening by the camp fire, smoking and
talking of the three men retreating down our old trail, and trying to
calculate at which one of the camping places they were bivouacked.
Every night since our parting this had been our chief diversion, and I
must confess that with each day that took us farther away from them an
increased loneliness impressed itself upon us.  Solemn and vast was
the great silence of the trackless wilderness as more and more we came
to realize our utter isolation from all the rest of the world and all
mankind.

The marsh and swamp land gradually gave way to hills, which increased
in size and ruggedness as we proceeded.  We had found the river at its
very beginning, and for a short way portages, as has been suggested,
had to be made around shallow places, but after a little, as other
streams augmented the volume of water, this became unnecessary, and as
the river grew in size it became a succession of rapids, and most of
them unpleasant ones, that kept us dodging rocks all the while.

Mr. A. P. Low, of the Canadian Geological Survey, in other parts of
the Labrador interior found black ducks very scarce.  This was not our
experience.  From the day we entered the George River until we were
well down the stream they were plentiful, and we shot what we needed
without turning our canoe out of its course to hunt them.  This is
apparently a breeding ground for them.

Several otter rubs were noted, and we saw some of the animals, but did
not disturb them.  In places where the river broadened out and the
current was slack every rock that stuck above the water held its
muskrat house, and large numbers of the rats were seen.

After the snow we had one or two fine, bright days, but they were
becoming few now, and the frosty winds and leaden skies, the
forerunners of winter, were growing more and more frequent.  When the
bright days did come they were exceptional ones.  I find noted in my
diary one morning: "This is a morning for the gods--a morning that
could scarcely be had anywhere in the world but in Labrador--a
cloudless sky, no breath of wind, the sun rising to light the heavy
hoarfrost and make it glint and sparkle till every tree and bush and
rock seems made of shimmering silver."

One afternoon as we were passing through an expansion and I was
scanning, as was my custom, every bit of shore in the hope of
discovering a wigwam smoke, I saw, running down the side of a hill on
an island a quarter of a mile away, a string of Indians waving wildly
at us and signaling us to come ashore.  After twelve weeks, in which
not a human being aside from our own party had been seen, we had
reached the dwellers of the wilderness, and with what pleasure and
alacrity we accepted the invitation to join them can be imagined.



CHAPTER XIII

DISASTER IN THE RAPIDS

It was a hunting party--four men and a half-grown boy--with two canoes
and armed with rifles.  The Indians gave us the hearty welcome of the
wilderness and received us like old friends.  First, the chief, whose
name was Toma, shook our hand, then the others, laughing and all
talking at once in their musical Indian tongue.  It was a welcome that
said: "You are our brothers.  You have come far to see us, and we are
glad to have you with us."

After the first greetings were over they asked for _stemmo,_ and I
gave them each a plug of tobacco, for that is what stemmo means.  They
had no pipes with them, so I let them have two of mine, and it did my
heart good to see the look of supreme satisfaction that crept into
each dusky face as its possessor inhaled in long, deep pulls the smoke
of the strong tobacco.  It was like the food that comes to a half-
starved man.  After they had had their smoke, passing the pipes from
mouth to mouth, I brought forth our kettle.  In a jiffy they had a
fire, and I made tea for them, which they drank so scalding hot it
must have burned their throats.  They told us they had had neither tea
nor tobacco for a long while, and were very hungry for both.  These
are the stimulants of the Labrador Indians, and they will make great
sacrifices to secure them.

All the time that this was taking place we were jabbering, each in his
own tongue, neither we nor they understanding much that the other
said.  I did make out from them that we were the first white men that
had ever visited them in their hunting grounds and that they were glad
to see us.

Accepting an invitation to visit their lodges and escorted by a canoe
on either side of ours, we finally turned down stream and, three miles
below, came to the main camp of the Indians, which was situated, as
most of their hunting camps are, on a slight eminence that commanded a
view of the river for several miles in either direction, that watch
might be constantly kept for bands of caribou.

We were discovered long before we arrived at the lodges, and were met
by the whole population--men, women, children, dogs, and all.  Our
reception was tumultuous and cordial.  It was a picturesque group.
The swarthy-faced men, lean, sinewy and well built, with their long,
straight black hair reaching to their shoulders, most of them hatless
and all wearing a red bandanna handkerchief banded across the
forehead, moccasined feet and vari-colored leggings; the women quaint
and odd; the eager-faced children; little hunting dogs, and big wolf-
like huskies.

All hands turned to and helped us carry our belongings to the camp,
pitch our tent and get firewood for our stove.  Then the men squatted
around until eleven of them were with us in our little seven by nine
tent, while all the others crowded as near to the entrance as they
could.  I treated everybody to hot tea.  The men helped themselves
first, then passed their cups on to the women and children.  The used
tea leaves from the kettle were carefully preserved by them to do
service again.  The eagerness with which the men and women drank the
tea and smoked the tobacco aroused my sympathies, and I distributed
amongst them all of these that I could well spare from our store.  In
appreciation of my gifts they brought us a considerable quantity of
fresh and jerked venison and smoked fat; and Toma, as a special mark
of favor presented me with a deer's tongue which had been cured by
some distinctive process unlike anything I had ever eaten before, and
it was delicious indeed, together with a bladder of refined fat so
clear that it was almost transparent.

The encampment consisted of two deerskin wigwams.  One was a large one
and oblong in shape, the other of good size but round.  The smaller
wigwam was heated by a single fire in the center, the larger one by
three fires distributed at intervals down its length.  Chief Toma
occupied, with his family, the smaller lodge, while the others made
their home in the larger one.

This was a band of Mountaineer Indians who trade at Davis Inlet Post
of the Hudson's Bay Company, on the east coast, visiting the Post once
or twice a year to exchange their furs for such necessaries as
ammunition, clothing, tobacco and tea.  Unlike their brothers on the
southern slope, they have not accustomed themselves to the use of
flour, sugar and others of the simplest luxuries of civilization, and
their food is almost wholly flesh, fish and berries.  They live in the
crude, primordial fashion of their forefathers.  To aid them in their
hunt they have adopted the breech-loading rifle and muzzle-loading
shotgun, but the bow and arrow has still its place with them and they
were depending wholly upon this crude weapon for hunting partridges
and other small game now, as they had no shotgun ammunition.  The boys
were constantly practicing with it while at play and were very expert
in its use.

These Indians are of medium height, well built, sinewy and strong,
alert and quick of movement.  The women are generally squatty and fat,
and the greater a woman's avoirdupois the more beautiful is she
considered.

All the Mountaineer Indians of Labrador are nominally Roman Catholics.
Those in the south are quite devoted to their priest, and make an
effort to meet him at least once a year and pay their tithes, but here
in the north this is not the case.  In fact some of these people had
seen their priest but once in their life and some of the younger ones
had never seen him at all.  Therefore they are still living under the
influence of the ancient superstitions of their race, though the women
are all provided with crucifixes and wear them on their breasts as
ornaments.

They are perfectly honest.  Indians, until they become contaminated by
contact with whites, always are honest.  It is the white man that
teaches them to steal, either by actually pilfering from the ignorant
savage, or by taking undue advantage of him in trade.  Human nature is
the same everywhere, and the Indian will, when he finds he is being
taken advantage of and robbed, naturally resent it and try to "get
even."  Our things were left wholly unguarded, and were the object of
a great deal of curiosity and admiration, not only our guns and
instruments, but nearly everything we had, and were handled and
inspected by our hosts, but not the slightest thing was filched.  No
Labrador Indian north of the Grand River will ever disturb a cache
unless driven to it by the direst necessity, and even then will leave
something in payment for what he takes.

We told them of the evidences we had seen of the caribou migration
having taken place between Michikamau and Michikamats, and they were
mightily interested.  They had missed it but were, nevertheless,
meeting small bands of caribou and making a good killing, as the
quantities of meat hanging everywhere to dry for winter use bore
evidence.  The previous winter, they told us, was a hard one with
them.  Reindeer and ptarmigan disappeared, and before spring they were
on the verge of starvation.

Our visit was made the occasion of a holiday and they devoted
themselves wholly to our entertainment, and I believe were genuinely
sorry when, on the afternoon after our arrival, I announced my
decision to break camp and proceed.  They helped us get ready, drew a
rough sketch of the river so far as they knew it, and warned us to
look out for numerous rapids and some high falls around which there
was a portage trail.  Farther on, they said, the river was joined by
another, and then it became a "big, big river," and for two days'
journey was good.  Beyond that it was reported to be very bad.  They
had never traveled it, because they heard it was so bad, and they
could not tell us, from their own knowledge, what it was like, but
repeated the warning, "Shepoo matchi, shepoo matchi" (River bad), and
told us to look out.

When we were ready to go, as a particular mark of good feeling, they
brought us parting gifts of smoked deer's fat and were manifestly in
earnest in their urgent invitations to us to come again.  The whole
encampment assembled at the shore to see us off and, as our canoes
pushed out into the stream, the men pitched small stones after us as a
good luck omen.  If the stones hit you good luck is assured.  You will
have a good hunt and no harm will come to you.  None of the stones
happened to hit us.  We could see the group waving at us until we
rounded the point of land upon which the lodges stood; then the men
all appeared on the other side of the point, where they had run to
watch us until we disappeared around a bend in the river below, as we
passed on to push our way deeper and deeper into the land of silence
and mystery.

The following morning brought us into a lake expansion some twelve
miles long and two miles or so in width, with a great many bays and
arms which were extremely confusing to us in our search for the place
where the river left it.  The lower end was blocked with islands, and
innumerable rocky bars, partially submerged, extended far out into the
water.  A strong southwest wind sent heavy rollers down the lake.
Low, barren hills skirted the shores.

Early in the afternoon we turned into a bay where I left Easton with
the canoe while I climbed one of the barren knolls.  I had scarcely
reached the summit when I heard a rifle shot, and then, after a pause,
three more in quick succession.  There were four cartridges in my
rifle.  I ran down to the canoe where I found Easton in wild
excitement, waving the gun and calling for cartridges, and half-way
across the bay saw the heads of two caribou swimming toward the
opposite shore.  I loaded the magazine and sat down to wait for the
animals to land.

When the first deer got his footing and showed his body above the
water three hundred and fifty yards away, I took him behind the
shoulder.  He dropped where he stood.  The other animal stopped to
look at his comrade, and a single bullet, also behind his shoulder,
brought him down within ten feet of where he had stood when he was
hit.  I mention this to show the high efficiency of the .33
Winchester.  At a comparatively long range two bullets had killed two
caribou on the spot without the necessity of a chase after wounded
animals, and one bullet had passed from behind the shoulder, the
length of the neck, into the head and glancing downward had broken the
jaw.

I desired to make a cache here that we might have something to fall
back upon in case our retreat should become necessary, and four days
were employed in fixing up the meat and preparing the cache, and this
gave us also sufficient time, in spite of continuous heavy wind and
rain, to thoroughly explore the lake and its bays.  An ample supply of
the fresh venison was reserved to carry with us.

We now had on hand, exclusive of the pemmican and other rations still
remaining, and the meat cached, eight weeks' provisions, with plenty
of ducks and ptarmigans everywhere, and there seemed to be no further
danger from lack of food.

One day, while we were here, five caribou tarried for several minutes
within two hundred yards of us and then sauntered off without taking
alarm, and later the same day another was seen at closer range; but we
did not need them and permitted them to go unmolested.

From a hill near this bay, where we killed the deer, on the eastern
side of the lake, we discovered a trail leading off toward a string of
lakes to the eastward.  This is undoubtedly the portage trail which
the Indians follow in their journeys to the Post at Davis Inlet.  Toma
had told me we might see it here, and that, not far in, on one of
these lakes was another Indian camp.

An inordinate craving for fat takes possession of every one after a
little while in the bush.  We had felt it, and now, with plenty,
overindulged, with the result that we were attacked with illness, and
for a day or two I was almost too sick to move.

The morning we left Atuknipi, or Reindeer Lake, as we shall call the
expansion, a blinding snowstorm was raging, with a strong head wind.
Several rapids were run though it was extremely dangerous work, for at
times we could scarcely see a dozen yards ahead.  At midday the snow
ceased, but the wind increased in velocity until finally we found it
quite out of the question to paddle against it, and were forced to
pitch camp on the shores of a small expansion and under the lee of a
hill.  For two days the gale blew unceasingly and held us prisoners in
our camp.  The waves broke on the rocky shores, sending the spray
fifty feet in the air and, freezing on the surrounding bowlders,
covered them with a glaze of ice.  I cannot say what the temperature
was, for on the day of our arrival here my last thermometer was
broken; but with half a foot of snow on the ground, the freezing spray
and the bitter cold wind, we were warned that winter was reaching out
her hand toward Labrador and would soon hold us in her merciless
grasp.  This made me chafe under our imprisonment, for I began to fear
that we should not reach the Post before the final freeze-up came, and
further travel by canoe would be out of the question.  On the morning
of September twenty-ninth, the wind, though still blowing half a gale
in our faces, had so much abated that we were able to launch our canoe
and continue our journey.

It was very cold.  The spray froze as it struck our clothing, the,
canoe was weighted with ice and our paddles became heavy with it.  We
ran one or two short rapids in safety and then started into another
that ended with a narrow strip of white water with a small expansion
below.  We had just struck the white water, going at a good speed in
what seemed like a clear course, when the canoe, at its middle, hit a
submerged rock.  Before there was time to clear ourselves the little
craft swung in the current, and the next moment I found myself in the
rushing, seething flood rolling down through the rocks.

When I came to the surface I was in the calm water below the rapid and
twenty feet away was the canoe, bottom up, with Easton clinging to it,
his clothing fast on a bolt under the canoe.  I swam to him and, while
he drew his hunting knife and cut himself loose, steadied the canoe.
We had neglected--and it was gross carelessness in us--to tie our
things fast, and the lighter bags and paddles were floating away while
everything that was heavy had sunk beyond hope of recovery.  The
thwarts, however, held fast in the overturned canoe a bag of pemmican,
one other small bag, the tent and tent stove.  Treading water to keep
ourselves afloat we tried to right the canoe to save these, but our
efforts were fruitless.  The icy water so benumbed us we could
scarcely control our limbs.  The tracking line was fast to the stern
thwart, and with one end of this in his teeth, Easton swam to a little
rocky island just below the rapid and hauled while I swam by the canoe
and steadied the things under the thwarts.  It took us half an hour to
get the canoe ashore, and we could hardly stand when he had it righted
and the water emptied out.

Then I looked for wood to build a fire, for I knew that unless we
could get artificial heat immediately we would perish with the cold,
for the very blood in our veins was freezing.  Not a stick was there
nearer than an eighth of a mile across the bay.  Our paddles were
gone, but we got into the canoe and used our hands for paddles.  By
the time we landed Easton had grown very pale.  He began picking and
clutching aimlessly at the trees.  The blood had congealed in my hands
until they were so stiff as to be almost useless.  I could not guide
them to the trousers pocket at first where I kept my waterproof match-
box.  Finally I loosened my belt and found the matches, and with the
greatest difficulty managed to get one between my benumbed fingers,
and scratched it on the bottom of the box.  The box was wet and the
match head flew off.  Everything was wet.  Not a dry stone even stuck
above the snow.  I tried another match on the box, but, like the
first, the head flew off, and then another and another with the same
result.  Under ordinary circumstances I could have secured a light
somehow and quickly, but now my hands and fingers were stiff as sticks
and refused to grip the matches firmly.  I worked with desperation,
but it seemed hopeless.  Easton's face by this time had taken on the
waxen shade that comes with death, and he appeared to be looking
through a haze.  His senses were leaving him.  I saw something must be
done at once, and I shouted to him: "Run! run!  Easton, run!"
Articulation was difficult, and I did not know my own voice.  It
seemed very strange and far away to me.  We tried to run but had lost
control of our legs and both fell down.  With an effort I regained my
feet but fell again when I tried to go forward.  My legs refused to
carry me.  I crawled on my hands and knees in the snow for a short
distance, and it was all I could do to recover my feet.  Easton had
now lost all understanding of his surroundings.  He was looking into
space but saw nothing.  He was groping blindly with his hands.  He did
not even know that he was cold.  I saw that only a fire could save his
life, and perhaps mine, and that we must have it quickly, and made one
more superhuman effort with the matches.  One after another I tried
them with the same result as before until but three remained.  All
depended upon those three matches.  The first one flickered for a
moment and my hopes rose, but my poor benumbed fingers refused to hold
it and it fell into the snow and went out.  The wind was drying the
box bottom.  I tried another--an old sulphur match, I remember.  It
burned!  I applied it with the greatest care to a handful of the hairy
moss that is found under the branches next the trunk of spruce trees,
and this ignited.  Then I put on small sticks, nursing the blaze with
the greatest care, adding larger sticks as the smaller ones took fire.
I had dropped on my knees and could reach the sticks from where I
knelt, for there was plenty of dead wood lying about.  As the blaze
grew I rose to my feet and, dragging larger wood, piled it on.  A sort
of joyful mania took possession of me as I watched the great tongues
of flames shooting skyward and listened to the crackling of the
burning wood, and I stood back and laughed.  I had triumphed over fate
and the elements.  Our arms, our clothing, nearly all our food, our
axes and our paddles, and even the means of making new paddles were
gone, but for the present we were safe.  Life, no matter how
uncertain, is sweet, and I laughed with the very joy of living.



CHAPTER  XIV

TIDE WATER AND THE POST

When Easton came to his senses, he found himself warming by the fire.
It is wonderful how quickly a half-frozen man will revive.  As soon as
we were thoroughly thawed out we stripped to our underclothing and
hung our things up to dry, permitting our underclothing to dry on us
as we stood near the blaze.  We were little the worse for our dip,
escaping with slightly frosted fingers and toes.  I discovered in my
pockets a half plug of black tobacco such as we use in the North, put
it on the end of a stick and dried it out, and then we had a smoke.
We agreed that we had never in our life before had so satisfactory a
smoke as that.  The stimulant was needed and it put new life into us.

Easton was very pessimistic.  He was generally inclined to look upon
the dark side of things anyway, and now he believed our fate was
sealed, especially if we could not find our paddles, and he began to
talk about returning to our cache and thence to the Indians.  But I
had been in much worse predicaments than this, and paddles or no
paddles, determined to go on, for we could work our way down the river
somehow with poles and the bag of pemmican would keep us alive until
we reached the Post--unless the freeze-up caught us.

When we had dried ourselves we went to the canoe to make an inventory
of our remaining goods and chattels, and with a vague hope that a
paddle might be found on the shore.  What, then, was our surprise and
our joy to find not only the paddles but our dunnage bags and my
instrument bag amongst the rocks, where an eddy below the rapid
swirled the water in.  Thus our blankets and clothing were safe, we
had fifty pounds of pemmican, our tent and tent stove, and in the
small bag that I have mentioned as having remained in the canoe with
the other things was all our tea and five or six pounds of caribou
tallow.  Our matches--and this was a great piece of good fortune--were
uninjured, and we had a good stock of them.  The tent stove seemed
useless without the pipe, but we determined to cling to it, as our
luggage now was light.  Our guns, axes, the balance of our provisions,
including salt, the tea kettle and all our other cooking utensils,
were gone, and worst of all, three hundred and fifty unexposed
photographic films.  Only twenty or thirty unexposed films were saved,
but fortunately, only one roll of ten exposed films, which was in one
of the cameras, was injured, and none of the exposed films was lost.
One camera was damaged beyond use, as were also my aneroid barometer
and binoculars.  However, we were fortunate to get off so easily as we
did, and the accident taught us the lesson to take no chances in
rapids and to tie everything fast at all times.  Carelessness is
pretty sure to demand its penalty, and the wilderness is constantly
springing surprises upon those who submit themselves to its care.

A pretty dreary camp we pitched that evening near the place of our
mishap.  Fortunately there was plenty of dead wood loose on the
ground, and we did very well for our camp fire without the axes.  A
pemmican can with the end cut off about an inch from the top, with a
piece of copper wire that I found in my dunnage bag fashioned into a
bale, made a very serviceable tea pail, from which we drank in turn,
as our cups were lost.  The top of the can answered for a frying pan
in which to melt our caribou tallow and pemmican when we wanted our
ration hot, and as a plate.  Tent pegs were cut with our jackknives
and the tent stretched between two trees, which avoided the necessity
of tent poles.  Thus, with our cooking and living outfit reduced to
the simplest and crudest form, and with a limited and unvaried diet of
pemmican, tallow and tea, we were on the whole able, so long as loose
wood could be found for our night camps, to keep comparatively
comfortable and free from any severe hardships.

We certainly had great reason to be thankful, and that night before we
rolled into our blankets I read aloud by the light of our camp fire
from my little Bible the one hundred and seventh Psalm, in
thanksgiving.

The next morning before starting forward we paddled out to the rapid,
in the vain hope that we might be able to recover some of the lost
articles from the bottom of the river, but at the place where the
spill had occurred the water was too swift and deep for us to do
anything, and we were forced to abandon the attempt and reluctantly
resume our journey without the things.

That night we felt sorely the loss of the axes.  Our camp was pitched
in a spot where no loose wood was to be found save very small sticks,
insufficient in quantity for an adequate fire in the open, for the
evening was cold.  We could not pitch our tent wigwam fashion with an
opening at the top for the smoke to escape, as to do that several
poles were necessary, and we had no means of cutting them.  However,
with the expectation that enough smoke would find its way out of the
stovepipe hole to permit us to remain inside, we built a small round
Indian fire in the center of the tent.  We managed to endure the smoke
and warm ourselves while tea was making, but the experiment proved a
failure and was not to be resorted to again, for I feared it might
result in an attack of smoke-blindness.  This is an affliction almost
identical in effect to snow-blindness.  I had suffered from it in the
first days of my wandering alone in the Susan Valley in the winter of
1903, and knew what it meant, and that an attack of it would preclude
traveling while it lasted, to say nothing of the pain that it would
inflict.

Here a portage was necessary around a half-mile canyon through which
the river, a rushing torrent, tumbled in the interval over a series of
small falls, and all the way the perpendicular walls of basaltic rock
that confined it rose on either side to a height of fifty to seventy-
five feet above the seething water.  Just below this canyon another
river joined us from the east, increasing the volume of water very
materially.  Our tumplines were gone, but with the tracking line and
pieces of deer skin we improvised new ones that answered our purpose
very well.

The hills, barren almost to their base, and growing in altitude with
every mile we traveled, were now closely hugging the river valley,
which was almost destitute of trees.  Rapids were practically
continuous and always strewn with dangerous rocks that kept us
constantly on the alert and our nerves strung to the highest tension.

The general course of the river for several days was north, thirty
degrees east, but later assumed an almost due northerly course.  It
made some wide sweeps as it worked its tortuous way through the
ranges, sometimes almost doubling on itself.  At intervals small
streams joined it and it was constantly growing in width and depth.
Once we came to a place where it dropped over massive bed rock in a
series of falls, some of which were thirty or more feet in height.
Few portages, however, were necessary.  We took our chances on
everything that there was any prospect of the canoe living through--
rapids that under ordinary circumstances we should never have trusted
--for the grip of the cold weather was tightening with each October
day.  The small lakes away from the river, where the water was still,
must even now have been frozen, but the river current was so big and
strong that it had as yet warded off the frost shackles.  When the
real winter came, however, it would be upon us in a night, and then
even this mighty torrent must submit to its power.

At one point the valley suddenly widened and the hills receded, and
here the river broke up into many small streams--no less than five--
but some four or five miles farther on these various channels came
together again, and then the growing hills closed in until they
pinched the river banks more closely than ever.

On the morning of October sixth we swung around a big bend in the
river, ran a short but precipitous rapid and suddenly came upon
another large river flowing in from the west.  This stream came
through a sandy valley, and below the junction of the rivers the sand
banks rose on the east side a hundred feet or so above the water.  The
increase here in the size of the stream was marked--it was wide and
deep.  A terrific gale was blowing and caught us directly in our faces
as we turned the bend and lost the cover of the lee share above the
curve, and paddling ahead was impossible.  The waves were so strong,
in fact, that we barely escaped swamping before we effected a landing.

We here found ourselves in an exceedingly unpleasant position.  We
were only fitted with summer clothing, which was now insufficient
protection.  There was not enough loose wood to make an open fire to
keep us warm for more than an hour or so, and we could not go on to
look for a better camping place.  In a notch between the sand ridges
we found a small cluster of trees, between two of which our tent was
stretched, but it was mighty uncomfortable with no means of warming.
"If we only had our stovepipe now we'd be able to break enough small
stuff to keep the stove going," said Easton.  With nothing else to do
we climbed a knoll to look at the river below, and there on the knoll
what should we find but several lengths of nearly worn-out but still
serviceable pipe that some Indian had abandoned.  "It's like Robinson
Crusoe," said Easton.  "Just as soon as we need something that we
can't get on very well without we find it.  A special Providence is
surely caring for us."  We appropriated that pipe, all right, and it
did not take us long to get a fire in the stove, which we had clung
to, useless as it had seemed to be.

A mass of ripe cranberries, so thick that we crushed them with every
step, grew on the hills, and we picked our pailful and stewed them,
using crystallose (a small phial of which I had in my dunnage bag) as
sweetening.  A pound of pemmican a day with a bit of tallow is
sustaining, but not filling, and left us with a constant, gnawing
hunger.  These berries were a godsend, and sour as they were we filled
up on them and for once gratified our appetites.  We had a great
desire, too, for something sweet, and always pounced upon the stray
raisins in the pemmican.  When either of us found one in his ration it
was divided between us.  Our great longing was for bread and molasses,
just as it had been with Hubbard and me when we were short of food,
and we were constantly talking of the feasts we would have of these
delicacies when we reached the Post--wheat bread and common black
molasses.

The George River all the way down to this point had been in past years
a veritable slaughter house.  There were great piles of caribou
antlers (the barren-ground caribou or reindeer), sometimes as many as
two or three hundred pairs in a single pile, where the Indians had
speared the animals in the river, and everywhere along the banks were
scattered dry bones.  Abandoned camps, and some of them large ones and
not very old, were distributed at frequent intervals, though we saw no
more of the Indians themselves until we reached Ungava Bay.

Wolves were numerous.  We saw their tracks in the sand and fresh signs
of them were common.  They always abound where there are caribou,
which form their main living.  Ptarmigans in the early morning clucked
on the river banks like chickens in a barnyard, and we saw some very
large flocks of them.  Geese and black ducks, making their way to the
southward, were met with daily.  But we had no arms or ammunition with
which to kill them.  I saw some fox signs, but there were very few or
no rabbit signs, strange to say, until we were a full hundred miles
farther down the river.

This camp, where we found the stovepipe, we soon discovered was nearly
at the head of Indian House Lake, so called by a Hudson's Bay Company
factor-John McLean-because of the numbers of Indians that he found
living on its shores.  McLean, about seventy years earlier, had
ascended the river in the interests of his company, for the purpose of
establishing interior posts.  The most inland Post that he erected was
at the lower end of this lake, which is fifty-five miles in length.
He also built a Post on a large lake which he describes in his
published journal as lying to the west of Indian House Lake.  The
exact location of this latter lake is not now known, but I am inclined
to think it is one which the Indians say is the source of Whale River,
a stream of considerable size emptying into Ungava Bay one hundred and
twenty miles to the westward of the mouth of the George River.  These
two rivers are doubtless much nearer together, however, farther
inland, where Whale River has its rise.  The difficulty experienced by
McLean in getting supplies to these two Posts rendered them
unprofitable, and after experimenting with them for three years they
were abandoned.  The agents in charge were each spring on the verge of
starvation before the opening of the waters brought fish and food or
they were relieved by the brigades from Ungava.  They had to depend
almost wholly upon their hunters for provisions.  It was not attempted
in those days to carry in flour, pork and other food stuffs now
considered by the traders necessaries.  And almost the only goods
handled by them in the Indian trade were axes, knives, guns,
ammunition and beads.

Indian House Lake now, as then, is a general rendezvous for the
Indians during the summer months, when they congregate there to fish
and to hunt reindeer.  In the autumn they scatter to the better
trapping grounds, where fur bearing animals are found in greater abun-
dance.  We were too late in the season to meet these Indians, though
we saw many of their camping places.

A snowstorm began on October seventh, but the wind had so far abated
that we were able to resume our journey.  It was a bleak and dismal
day.  Save for now and then a small grove of spruce trees in some
sheltered nook, and these at long intervals, the country was destitute
and barren of growth.  Below our camp, upon entering the lake, there
was a wide, flat stretch of sand wash from the river, and below this
from the lake shore on either side, great barren, grim hills rose in
solemn majesty, across whose rocky face the wind swept the snow in
fitful gusts and squalls.  Off on a mountain side a wolf disturbed the
white silence with his dismal cry, and farther on a big black fellow
came to the water's edge, and with the snow blowing wildly about him
held his head in the air and howled a challenge at us as we passed
close by.  Perhaps he yearned for companionship and welcomed the sight
of living things.  For my part, grim and uncanny as be looked, I was
glad to see him.  He was something to vary the monotony of the great
solemn silence of our world.

The storm increased, and early in the day the snow began to fall so
heavily that we could not see our way, and forced us to turn into a
bay where we found a small cluster of trees amongst big bowlders, and
pitched our tent in their shelter.  The snow had drifted in and filled
the space between the rocks, and on this we piled armfuls of scraggy
boughs and made a fairly level and wholly comfortable bed; but it was
a long, tedious job digging with our hands and feet into the snow for
bits of wood for our stove.  The conditions were growing harder and
harder with every day, and our experience here was a common one with
us for the most of the remainder of the way down the river from this
point.

The day we reached the lower end of the lake I summed up briefly its
characteristics in my field book as follows:

"Indian House Lake has a varying width of from a quarter mile to three
miles.  It is apparently not deep.  Both shores are followed by ridges
of the most barren, rocky hills imaginable, some of them rising to a
height of eight to nine hundred feet and sloping down sharply to the
shores, which are strewn with large loose bowlders or are precipitous
bed rock.  An occasional sand knoll occurs, and upon nearly every one
of these is an abandoned Indian camp.  The timber growth--none at all
or very scanty spruce and tamarack.  Length of lake (approximated)
fifty-five miles."

I had hoped to locate the site of McLean's old Post buildings, more
than three score years ago destroyed by the Indians, doubtless for
firewood, but the snow had bidden what few traces of them time had not
destroyed, and they were passed unnoticed.  The storm which raged all
the time we were here made progress slow, and it was not until the
morning of the tenth that we reached the end of the lake, where the
river, vastly increased in volume, poured out through a rapid.

Below Indian House Lake there were only a few short stretches of slack
water to relieve the pretty continuous rapids.  The river wound in and
out, in and out, rushing on its tumultuous way amongst ever higher
mountains.  There was no time to examine the rapids before we shot
them.  We had to take our chances, and as we swung around every curve
we half expected to find before us a cataract that would hurl us to
destruction.  The banks were often sheer from the water's edge, and
made landing difficult or even impossible.  In one place for a dis-
tance of many miles the river had worn its way through the mountains,
leaving high, perpendicular walls of solid rock on either side,
forming a sort of canyon.  In other places high bowlders, piled by
some giant force, formed fifty-foot high walls, which we had to scale
each night to make our camp.  In the morning some peak in the blue
distance would be noted as a landmark.  In a couple of hours we would
rush past it and mark another one, which, too, would soon be left
behind.

The rapids continued the characteristic of the river and were
terrific.  Often it would seem that no canoe could ride the high,
white waves, or that we could not avoid the swirl of mighty cross-
current eddies, which would have swallowed up our canoe like a chip
had we got into them.  There were rapids whose roar could be
distinctly heard for five or six miles.  These we approached with the
greatest care, and portaged around the worst places.  The water was so
clear that often we found ourselves dodging rocks, which, when we
passed them, were ten or twelve feet below the surface.  It was here
that a peculiar optical illusion occurred.  The water appeared to be
running down an incline of about twenty degrees.  At the place where
this was noticed, however, the current was not exceptionally swift.
We were in a section now where the Indians never go, owing to the
character of the river--a section that is wholly untraveled and
unhunted.

After leaving Indian House Lake, as we descended from the plateau, the
weather grew milder.  There were chilly winds and bleak rains, but the
snow, though remaining on the mountains, disappeared gradually from
the valley, and this was a blessing to us, for it enabled us to make
camp with a little less labor, and the bits of wood were left
uncovered, to be gathered with more ease.  Every hour of light we
needed, for with each dawn and twilight the days were becoming
noticeably shorter.  The sun now rose in the southeast, crossed a
small segment of the sky, and almost before we were aware of it set in
the southwest.

The wilderness gripped us closer and closer as the days went by.
Remembrances of the outside world were becoming like dreamland
fancies--something hazy, indefinite and unreal.  We could hardly bring
ourselves to believe that we had really met the Indians.  It seemed to
us that all our lives we had been going on and on through rushing
water, or with packs over rocky portages, and the Post we were aiming
to reach appeared no nearer to us than it did the day we left
Northwest River--long, long ago.  We seldom spoke.  Sometimes in a
whole day not a dozen words would be exchanged.  If we did talk at all
it was at night over soothing pipes, after the bit of pemmican we
allowed ourselves was disposed of, and was usually of something to
eat--planning feasts of darn goods, bread and molasses when we should
reach a place where these luxuries were to be had.  It was much like
the way children plan what wonderful things they will do, and what
unbounded good things they will indulge in, when they attain that high
pinnacle of their ambition--"grown-ups."

After our upset in the rapid Easton eschewed water entirely, except
for drinking purposes.  He had had enough of it, he said.  I did bathe
my hands and face occasionally, particularly in the morning, to rouse
me from the torpor of the always heavy sleep of night.  What savages
men will revert into when they are buried for a long period in the
wilderness and shake off the trammels and customs of the
conventionalism of civilization!  It does not take long to make an
Indian out of a white man so far as habits and customs of living go.

Our routine of daily life was always the same.  Long before daylight I
would arise, kindle a fire, put over it our tea water, and then get
Easton out of his blankets.  At daylight we would start.  At midday we
had tea, and at twilight made the best camp we could.

The hills were assuming a different aspect--less conical in form and
not so high.  The bowlders on the river banks were superseded by
massive bed-rock granite.  The coves and hollows were better wooded
and there were some stretches of slack water.  On October fifteenth we
portaged around a series of low falls, below which was a small lake
expansion with a river flowing into it from the east.  Here we found
the first evidence of human life that we had seen in a long while--a
wide portage trail that had been cut through now burned and dead trees
on the eastern side of the river.  It was fully six feet in width and
had been used for the passage of larger boats than canoes.  The moss
was still unrenewed where the tramp of many moccasins had worn it off.
This was the trail made by John McLean's brigades nearly three-
quarters of a century before, for in their journeys to Indian House
Lake they had used rowboats and not canoes for the transportation of
supplies.

The day we passed over this portage was a most miserable one.  We were
soaked from morning till night with mingled snow and rain, and numb
with the cold, but when we made our night camp, below the junction of
the rivers, one or two ax cuttings were found, and I knew that now our
troubles were nearly at an end and we were not far from men.  The next
afternoon (Monday, October sixteenth) we stopped two or three miles
below a rapid to boil our kettle, and before our tea was made the
canoe was high and dry on the rocks.  We had reached tide water at
last!  How we hurried through that luncheon, and with what light
hearts we launched the canoe again, and how we peered into every bay
for the Post buildings that we knew were now close at hand can be
imagined.  These bays were being left wide stretches of mud and rocks
by the receding water, which has a tide fall here of nearly forty
feet.  At last, as we rounded a rocky point, we saw the Post.  The
group of little white buildings nestling deep in a cove, a feathery
curl of smoke rising peacefully from the agent's house, an Eskimo
_tupek_ (tent), boats standing high on the mud flat below, and the
howl of a husky dog in the distance, formed a picture of comfort that
I shall long remember.



CHAPTER XV

OFF WITH THE ESKIMOS

The tide had left the bay drained, on the farther side and well toward
the bottom of which the Post stands, and between us and the buildings
was a lake of soft mud.  There seemed no approach for the canoe, and
rather than sit idly until the incoming tide covered the mud again so
that we could paddle in, we carried our belongings high up the side of
the hill, safely out of reach of the water when it should rise, and
then started to pick our way around the face of the clifflike hill,
with the intention of skirting the bay and reaching the Post at once
from the upper side.

It was much like walking on the side of a wall, and to add to our
discomfiture night began to fall before we were half way around, for
it was slow work.  Once I descended cautiously to the mud, thinking
that I might be able to walk across it, but a deep channel filled with
running water intercepted me, and I had to return to Easton, who had
remained above.  We finally realized that we could not get around the
hill before dark and the footing was too uncertain to attempt to
retrace our steps to the canoe in the fading light, as a false move
would have hurled us down a hundred feet into the mud and rocks below.
Fortunately a niche in the hillside offered a safe resting place, and
we drew together here all the brush within reach, to be burned later
as a signal to the Post folk that some one was on the hill, hoping
that when the tide rose it would bring them in, a boat to rescue us
from our unpleasant position.  When the brush was arranged for firing
at an opportune time we sat down in the thickening darkness to watch
the lights which were now flickering cozily in the windows of the Post
house.

"Well, this _is_ hard luck," said Easton.  "There's good bread and
molasses almost within hailing distance and we've likely got to sit
out here on the rocks all night without wood enough to keep fire, and
it's going to rain pretty soon and we can't even get back to our
pemmican and tent."

"Don't give up yet, boy," I encouraged.  "Maybe they'll see our fire
when we start it and take us off."

We filled our pipes and struck matches to light them.  They were wax
taper matches and made a good blaze.  "Wonder what it'll be like to
eat civilized grub again and sleep in a bed," said Easton
meditatively, as he puffed uncomfortably at his pipe.

While he was speaking the glow of a lantern appeared from the Post
house, which we could locate by its lamp-lit windows, and moved down
toward the place where we had seen the boats on the mud.  The sight of
it made us hope that we had been noticed, and we jumped up and
combined our efforts in shouting until we were hoarse.  Then we
ignited the pile of brush.  It blazed up splendidly, shooting its
flames high in the air, sending its sparks far, and lighting weirdly
the strange scene.  We stood before it that our forms might appear in
relief against the light reflected by the rocky background, waving our
arms and renewing our shouts.  Once or twice I fancied I heard an
answering hail from the other side, like a far-off echo; but the wind
was against us and I was not sure.  The lantern light was now in a
boat moving out toward the main river.  Even though it were coming to
us this was necessary, as the tide could not be high enough yet to
permit its coming directly across to where we were.  We watched its
course anxiously.  Finally it seemed to be heading toward us, but we
were not certain.  Then it disappeared altogether and there was
nothing but blackness and silence where it had been.

"Some one that's been waiting for the tide to turn and he's just going
down the river, where he likely lives," remarked Easton as we sat down
again and relit our pipes.  "I began to taste bread and molasses when
I saw that light," he continued, after a few minutes' pause.  "It's
just our luck.  We're in for a night of it, all right."

We sat smoking silently, resigned to our fate, when all at once there
stepped out of the surrounding darkness into the radius of light cast
by our now dying fire, an old Eskimo with an unlighted lantern in his
hands, and a young fellow of fifteen or sixteen years of age.

"Oksutingyae," * said the Eskimo, and then proceeded to light his
lantern, paying no further attention to us.  "How do you do?" said the
boy.

* [Dual form meaning "You two be strong," used by the Eskimos as a
greeting.  The singular of the same is Oksunae, and the plural (more
than two) Oksusi]

The Eskimo could understand no English, but the boy, a grandson of
Johm Ford, the Post agent, told us that the Eskimo had seen us strike
the matches to light our pipes and reported the matter at once at the
house.  There was not a match at the Post nor within a hundred miles
of it, so far as they knew, so Mr. Ford concluded that some strangers
were stranded on the hill--possibly Eskimos in distress--and he gave
them a lantern and started them over in a boat to investigate.  Their
lantern had blown out on the way--that was when we missed the light.

With the lantern to guide us we descended the slippery rocks to their
boat and in ten minutes landed on the mud flat opposite, where we were
met by Ford and a group of curious Eskimos.  We were immediately con-
ducted to the agent's residence, where Mrs. Ford received us in the
hospitable manner of the North, and in a little while spread before us
a delicious supper of fresh trout, white bread such as we had not seen
since leaving Tom Blake's, mossberry jam and tea.  It was an event in
our life to sit down again to a table covered with white linen and eat
real bread.  We ate until we were ashamed of ourselves, but not until
we were satisfied (for we had emerged from the bush with unholy
appetites) and barely stopped eating in time to save our reputations
from utter ruin.  And now our hosts told us--and it shows how really
generous and open-hearted they were to say nothing about it until we
were through eating--that the _Pelican_, the Hudson's Bay Company's
steamer, had not arrived on her annual visit, that it was so late in
the season all hope of her coming had some time since been
relinquished, and the Post provisions were reduced to forty pounds of
flour, a bit of sugar, a barrel or so of corn meal, some salt pork and
salt beef, and small quantities of other food stuffs, and there were a
great many dependents with hungry mouths to feed.  Molasses, butter
and other things were entirely gone.  The storehouses were empty.

This condition of affairs made it incumbent upon me, I believed, in
spite of a cordial invitation from Ford to stay and share with them
what they had, to move on at once and endeavor to reach Fort Chimo
ahead of the ice.  Fort Chimo is the chief establishment of the fur
trading companies on Ungava Bay, and is the farthest off and most
isolated station in northern Labrador.  This journey would be too
hazardous to undertake in the month of October in a canoe--the rough,
open sea of Ungava Bay demanded a larger craft--and although Ford told
me it was foolhardy to attempt it so late in the season with any craft
at all, I requested him to do his utmost the following day to engage
for us Eskimos and a small boat and we would make the attempt to get
there.  It has been my experience that frontier traders are wont to
overestimate the dangers in trips of this kind, and I was inclined to
the belief that this was the case with Ford.  In due time I learned my
mistake.

Ford had no tobacco but the soggy black chewing plug dispensed to
Eskimos, and we shared with him our remaining plugs and for two hours
sat in the cozy Post house kitchen smoking and chatting.  Over a year
had passed since his last communication with the outside world, for no
vessel other than the _Pelican_ when she makes her annual call with
supplies ever comes here, and we therefore had some things of interest
to tell him.

Our host I soon discovered to be a man of intelligence.  He was sixty-
six years of age, a native of the east coast of Labrador, with a tinge
of Eskimo blood in his veins, and as familiar with the Eskimo language
as with English.  For twenty years, he informed me, with the exception
of one or two brief intervals, he had been buried at George River
Post, and was longing for the time when he could leave it and enjoy
the comforts of civilization.

After our chat we were shown to our room, where the almost forgotten
luxuries of feather beds and pillows, and the great, warm, fluffy
woolen blankets of the Hudson's Bay Company--such blankets as are
found nowhere else in the world--awaited us.  To undress and crawl
between them and lie there, warm and snug and dry, while we listened
to the rain, which had begun beating furiously against the window and
on the roof, and the wind howling around the house, seemed to me at
first the pinnacle of comfort; but this sense of luxury soon passed
off and I found myself longing for the tent and spruce-bough couch on
the ground, where there was more air to breathe and a greater freedom.
I could not sleep.  The bed was too warm and the four walls of the
room seemed pressing in on me.  After four months in the open it takes
some time for one to accustom one's self to a bed again.

The next day at high tide, with the aid of a boat and two Eskimos, we
recovered our things from the rocks where we had cached them.

There were no Eskimos at the Post competent or willing to attempt the
open-boat journey to Fort Chimo.  Those that were here all agreed that
the ice would come before we could get through and that it was too
dangerous an undertaking.  Therefore, galling as the delay was to me,
there was nothing for us to do but settle down and wait for the time
to come when we could go with dog teams overland.

On Thursday afternoon, three days after our arrival at the Post, we
saw the Eskimos running toward the wharf and shouting as though
something of unusual importance were taking place and, upon joining
the crowd, found them greeting three strange Eskimos who had just
arrived in a boat.  The real cause of the excitement we soon learned
was the arrival of the _Pelican_.  The strange Eskimos were the pilots
that brought her from Fort Chimo.  All was confusion and rejoicing at
once.  Ford manned a boat and invited us to join him in a visit to the
ship, which lay at anchor four miles below, and we were soon off.

When we boarded the Pelican, which, by the way, is an old British
cruiser, we were received by Mr. Peter McKenzie, from Montreal, who
has superintendence of eastern posts, and Captain Lovegrow, who
commanded the vessel.  They told us that they had called at Rigolet on
their way north and there heard of the arrival of Richards, Pete and
Stanton at Northwest River.  This relieved my mind as to their safety.

We spent a very pleasant hour over a cigar, and heard the happenings
in the outside world since our departure from it, the most important
of which was the close of the Russian-Japanese war.  We also learned
that the cause of delay in the ship's coming was an accident on the
rocks near Cartwright, making it necessary for them to run to St.
Johns for repairs; and also that only the fact of the distressful
condition of the Post, unprovisioned as they knew it must be, had
induced them to take the hazard of running in and chancing imprison-
ment for the winter in the ice.

Mr. McKenzie extended me a most cordial invitation to return with them
to Rigolet, but the Eskimo pilots had brought news of large herds of
reindeer that the Indians had reported as heading eastward toward the
Koksoak, the river on which Fort Chimo is situated, and I determined
to make an effort to see these deer.  This determination was coupled
with a desire to travel across the northern peninsula and around the
coast in winter and learn more of the people and their life than could
be observed at the Post; and I therefore declined Mr. McKenzie's
invitation.

Captain James Blanford, from St. Johns, was on board, acting as ship's
pilot for the east coast, and he kindly offered to carry out for me
such letters and telegrams as I might desire to send and personally
attend to their transmission.  I gladly availed myself of this offer,
as it gave us an opportunity to relieve the anxiety of our friends at
home as to our safety.  Captain Blanford had been with the auxiliary
supply ship of the Peary Arctic expedition during the summer and told
us of having left Commander Peary at eighty degrees north latitude in
August.  The expedition, he told us, would probably winter as high as
eighty-three degrees north, and he was highly enthusiastic over the
good prospects of Peary's success in at least reaching "Farthest
North."

The Eskimo pilots of the _Pelican_ were more venturesome than their
friends at George River.  They had a small boat belonging to the
Hudson's Bay Company, and in it were going to attempt to reach Fort
Chimo.  Against his advice I had Ford arrange with them to permit
Easton and me to accompany them.  It was a most fortunate
circumstance, I thought, that this opportunity was opened to us.

Accordingly the letters for Captain Blanford were written, sufficient
provisions, consisting of corn meal, flour, hard-tack, pork, and tea
to last Easton and me ten days, were packed, and our luggage was taken
on board the _Pelican_ on Saturday afternoon, where we were to spend
the night as Mr. McKenzie's and Captain Lovegrow's guests.

Mr. McKenzie, before going to Montreal, had lived nearly a quarter of
a century as Factor at Fort Chimo, and, thoroughly familiar with the
conditions of the country and the season, joined Ford in advising us
strongly against our undertaking, owing to the unusual hazard attached
to it, and the probability of getting caught in the ice and wrecked.
But we were used to hardship, and believed that if the Eskimos were
willing to attempt the journey we could get through with them some
way, and I saw no reason why I should change my plans.

Low-hanging clouds, flying snowflakes and a rising northeast wind
threatened a heavy storm on Sunday morning, October twenty-second,
when the _Pelican_ weighed anchor at ten o'clock, with us on board and
the small boat, the _Explorer_, that was to carry us westward in tow,
and steamed down the George River, at whose mouth, twenty miles below,
we were to leave her, to meet new and unexpected dangers and
hardships.

At the Post the river is a mile and a half in width.  About eight
miles farther down its banks close in and "the Narrows" occur, and
then it widens again.  There is very little growth of any kind below
the Narrows.  The rocks are polished smooth and bare as they rise from
the water's edge, and it is as desolate and barren a land as one's
imagination could picture, but withal possesses a rugged grand beauty
in its grim austerity that is impressive.

About three or four miles above the open bay the _Pelican's_ engines
ceased to throb and the _Explorer_ was hauled alongside.  Everything
but the provisions for the Eskimo crew was already aboard.  We said a
hurried adieu and, watching our chances as the boat rose and fell on
the swell, dropped one by one into the little craft.  A bag of ship's
biscuit, the provisions of our Eskimos, was thrown after us.  Most of
them went into the sea and were lost, and we needed them sadly later.
I thought we should swamp as each sea hit us before we could get away,
and when we were finally off the boat was half full of water.

The Eskimos hoisted a sail and turned to the west bank of the river,
for it was too rough outside to risk ourselves there in the little
_Explorer_.  The pulse of the big ship began to beat and slowly she
steamed out into the open and left us to the mercies of the unfeeling
rocks of Ungava.



CHAPTER XVI

CAUGHT BY THE ARCTIC ICE

We ran to shelter in a small cove and under the lee of a ledge pitched
our tent, using poles that the Eskimos had thoughtfully provided, and
anchoring the tent down with bowlders.

When I say the rocks here are scoured bare, I mean it literally.
There was not a stick of wood growing as big as your finger.  On the
lower George, below the Narrows, and for long distances on the Ungava
coast there is absolutely not a tree of any kind to be seen.  The only
exception is in one or two bays or near the mouth of streams, where a
stunted spruce growth is sometimes found in small patches.  There are
places where you may skirt the coast of Ungava Bay for a hundred miles
and not see a shrub worthy the name of tree, even in the bays.

The Koksoak (Big) River, on which Fort Chimo is situated, is the
largest river flowing into Ungava Bay.  The George is the second in
size, and Whale River ranks third.  Between the George River and Whale
River there are four smaller ones--Tunulik (Back) River, Kuglotook
(Overflow) River, Tuktotuk (Reindeer) River and Mukalik (Muddy) River;
and between Whale River and the Koksoak the False River.  I crossed
all of these streams and saw some of them for several miles above the
mouth.  The Koksoak, Mukalik and Whale Rivers are regularly traversed
by the Indians, but the others are too swift and rocky for canoes.
There are several streams to the westward of the Koksoak, notably Leaf
River, and a very large one that the Eskimos told me of, emptying into
Hope's Advance Bay, but these I did not see and my knowledge of them
is limited to hearsay.

The hills in the vicinity of George River are generally high, but to
the westward they are much lower and less picturesque.

After our camp was pitched we had an opportunity for the first time to
make the acquaintance of our companions.  The chief was a man of about
forty years of age, Potokomik by name, which, translated, means a hole
cut in the edge of a skin for the purpose of stretching it.  The next
in importance was Kumuk.  Kumuk means louse, and it fitted the man's
nature well.  The youngest was Iksialook (Big Yolk of an Egg).
Potokomik had been rechristened by a Hudson's Bay Company agent
"Kenneth," and Kumuk, in like manner, had had the name of "George"
bestowed upon him, but Iksialook bad been overlooked or neglected in
this respect, and his brain was not taxed with trying to remember a
Christian cognomen that none of his people would ever call or know him
by.

Potokomik was really a remarkable man and proved most faithful to us.
It is, in fact, to his faithfulness and control over the others,
particularly Kumuk, that Easton and I owe our lives, as will appear
later.  He was at one time conjurer of the Kangerlualuksoakmiut, or
George River Eskimos, and is still their leader, but during a visit to
the Atlantic coast, some three or four years ago, he came under the
influence of a missionary, embraced Christianity, and abandoned the
heathen conjuring swindle by which he was, up to that time, making a
good living.  Now he lives a life about as clean and free from the
heathenism and superstitions of his race as any Eskimo can who adopts
a new religion.  The missionary whom I have mentioned led Potokomik's
mother to accept Christ and renounce Torngak when she was on her
deathbed, and before she died she confessed to many sins, amongst them
that of having aided in the killing and eating, when driven to the act
by starvation, of her own mother.

After our tent was pitched and the Eskimos had spread the _Explorer's_
sail as a shelter for themselves, Kumuk and Iksialook left us to look
for driftwood and, in half an hour, returned with a few small sticks
that they had found on the shore.  These sticks were exceedingly
scarce and, of course, very precious and with the greatest economy in
the use of the wood, a fire was made and the kettle boiled for tea.

At first the Eskimos were always doing unexpected things and
springing surprises upon us, but soon we became more or less
accustomed to their ways.  Not one of them could talk or understand
English and my Eskimo vocabulary was limited to the one word "Oksu-
nae," and we therefore had considerable difficulty in making each
other understand, and the pantomime and various methods of
communication resorted to were often very funny to see.  Potokomik
and I started in at once to learn what we could of each other's
language, and it is wonderful how much can be accomplished in the ac-
quirement of a vocabulary in a short time and how few words are
really necessary to convey ideas.  I would point at the tent and say,
"Tent," and he would say, "Tupek"; or at my sheath knife and say,
"Knife," and he would say, "Chevik," and thus each learned the
other's word for nearly everything about us and such words as "good,"
"bad," "wind" and so on; and in a few days we were able to make each
other understand in a general way, with our mixed English and Eskimo.

The northeast wind and low-hanging clouds of the morning carried into
execution their threat, and all Sunday afternoon and all day Monday
the snowstorm raged with fury.  I took pity on the Eskimos and on
Sunday night invited all of them to sleep in our tent, but only
Potokomik came, and on Monday morning, when I went out at break of
day, I found the other two sleeping under a snowdrift, for the lean-to
made of the boat sail had not protected them much.  After that they
accepted my invitation and joined us in the tent.

It did not clear until Tuesday morning, and then we hoisted sail and
started forward out of the river and into the broad, treacherous
waters of Hudson Straits, working with the oars to keep warm and
accelerate progress, for the wind was against us at first until we
turned out of the river, and we had long tacks to make.

At the Post, as was stated, there is a rise and fall of tide of forty
feet.  In Ungava Bay and the straits it has a record of sixty-two feet
rise at flood, with the spring or high tides, and this makes
navigation precarious where hidden reefs and rocks are everywhere; and
there are long stretches of coast with no friendly bay or harbor or
lee shore where one can run for cover when unheralded gales and sudden
squalls catch one in the open.  The Atlantic coast of Labrador is
dangerous indeed, but there Nature has providentially distributed
innumerable safe harbor retreats, and the tide is insignificant
compared with that of Ungava Bay.  "Nature exhausted her supply of
harbors," some one has said, "before she rounded Cape Chidley, or she
forgot Ungava entirely; and she just bunched the tide in here, too."

That Tuesday night sloping rocks and ominous reefs made it impossible
for us to effect a landing, and in a shallow place we dropped anchor.
Fortunately there was no wind, for we were in an exposed position, and
had there been we should have come to grief.  A bit of hardtack with
nothing to drink sufficed for supper, and after eating we curled up as
best we could in the bottom of the boat.  No watch was kept.  Every
one lay down.  Easton and I rolled in our blankets, huddled close to
each other, pulled the tent over us and were soon dreaming of sunnier
lands where flowers bloom and the ice trust gets its prices.

Our awakening was rude.  Some time in the night I dreamed that my neck
was broken and that I lay in a pool of icy water powerless to move.
When I finally roused myself I found the boat tilted at an angle of
forty-five degrees and my head at the lower incline.  All the water in
the boat had drained to that side and my shoulders and neck were
immersed.  The tide was out and we were stranded on the rocks.  It was
bright moonlight.  Kumuk and Iksialook got up and with the kettle
disappeared over the rocks.  The rising tide was almost on us when
they returned with a kettle full of hot tea.  Then as soon as the
water was high enough to float the boat we were off by moonlight,
fastening now and again on reefs, and several times narrowly escaped
disaster.

It was very cold.  Easton and I were still clad in the bush-ravaged
clothing that we had worn during the summer, and it was far too light
to keep out the bitter Arctic winds that were now blowing, and at
night our only protection was our light summer camping blankets.  When
we reached the Post at George River not a thing in the way of clothing
or blankets was in stock and the new stores were not unpacked when we
left, so we were not able to re-outfit there.

Wednesday night we succeeded in finding shelter, but all day Thursday
were held prisoners by a northerly gale.  On Friday we made a new
start, but early in the afternoon were driven to shelter on an island,
where with some difficulty we effected a landing at low tide, and
carried our goods a half mile inland over the slippery rocks above the
reach of rising water.  The Eskimos remained with the boat and worked
it in foot by foot with the tide while Easton and I pitched the tent
and hunted up and down on the rocks for bits of driftwood until we had
collected sufficient to last us with economy for a day or two.

That night the real winter came.  The light ice that we had
encountered heretofore and the snow which attained a considerable
depth in the recent storms were only the harbingers of the true winter
that comes in this northland with a single blast of the bitter wind
from the ice fields of the Arctic.  It comes in a night--almost in an
hour--as it did to us now.  Every pool of water on the island was
congealed into a solid mass.  A gale of terrific fury nearly carried
our tent away, and only the big bowlders to which it was anchored
saved it.  Once we had to shift it farther back upon the rock fields,
out of reach of an exceptionally high tide.  For three days the wind
raged, and in those three days the great blocks of northern pack ice
were swept down upon us, and we knew that the _Explorer_ could serve
us no longer.  There was no alternative now but to cross the barrens
to Whale River on foot.  With deep snow and no snowshoes it was not a
pleasant prospect.

Our hard-tack was gone, and I baked into cakes all of our little stock
of flour and corn meal.  This, with a small piece of pork, six pounds
of pemmican, tea and a  bit of tobacco was all that we had left in the
way of provisions.  The Eskimos had eaten everything that they had
brought, and it now devolved upon us to feed them also from our meager
store, which at the start only provided for Easton and me for ten
days, as that had been considered more than ample time for the
journey.  I limited the rations at each meal to a half of one of my
cakes for each man.  Potokomik agreed with me that this was a wise and
necessary restriction and protected me in it.  Kumuk thought
differently, and he was seen to filch once or twice, but a close watch
was kept upon him.

With infinite labor we hauled the _Explorer_ above the high-tide
level, out of reach of the ice that would soon pile in a massive
barricade of huge blocks upon the shore, that she might be safe until
recovered the following spring.  Then we packed in the boat's prow our
tent and all paraphernalia that was not absolutely necessary for the
sustenance of life, made each man a pack of his blankets, food and
necessaries, and began our perilous foot march toward Whale River.  I
clung to all the records of the expedition, my camera, photographic
films and things of that sort, though Potokomik advised their
abandonment.

At low tide, when the rocks were left nearly uncovered, we forded from
the island to the mainland.  It was dark when we reached it, and for
three hours after dark, bending under our packs, walking in Indian
file, we pushed on in silence through the knee-deep snow upon which
the moon, half hidden by flying clouds, cast a weird ghostlike light.
Finally the Eskimos stopped in a gully by a little patch of spruce
brush four or five feet high, and while Iksialook foraged for handfuls
of brush that was dry enough to burn, Potokomik and Kumuk cut snow
blocks, which they built into a circular wall about three feet high,
as a wind-break in which to sleep, and Easton and I broke some green
brush to throw upon the snow in this circular wind-break for a bed.
While we did this Iksialook filled the kettle with bits of ice and
melted it over his brush fire and made tea.  There was only brush
enough to melt ice for one cup of tea each, which with our bit of cake
made our supper. . We huddled close and slept pretty well that night
on the snow with nothing but flying frost between us and heaven.

We were having our breakfast the next morning a white arctic fox came
within ten yards of our fire to look us over as though wondering what
kind of animals we were.  Easton and I were unarmed, but the Eskimos
each carried a 45-90 Winchester rifle.  Potokomik reached for his and
shot the fox, and in a few minutes its disjointed carcass was in our
pan with a bit of pork, and we made a substantial breakfast on the
half-cooked flesh.

That was a weary day.  We came upon a large creek in the forenoon and
had to ascend its east bank for a long distance to cross it, as the
tide had broken the ice below.  Some distance up the stream its valley
was wooded by just enough scattered spruce trees to hold the snow, and
wallowing and floundering through this was most exhausting.

During the day Kumuk proposed to the other Eskimos that they take all
the food and leave the white men to their fate.  They had rifles while
we had none, and we could not resist.  Potokomik would not hear of it.
He remained our friend.  Kumuk did not like the small ration that I
dealt out, and if they could get the food out of our possession they
would have more for themselves.

That night a snow house was built, with the exception of rounding the
dome at the top, over which Potokomik spread his blanket; but it was a
poor shelter, and not much warmer than the open.  When I lay down I
was dripping with perspiration from the exertion of the day and during
the night had a severe chill.

The next day a storm threatened.  We crossed another stream and
halted, at twelve o'clock, upon the western side of it to make tea.
The Eskimos held a consultation here and then Potokomik told us that
they were afraid of heavy snow and that it was thought best to cache
everything that we had--blankets, food and everything--and with
nothing to encumber us hurry on to a tupek that we should reach by
dark, and that there we should find shelter and food.  Accordingly
everything was left behind but the rifles, which the Eskimos clung to,
and we started on at a terrific pace over wind-swept hills and drift-
covered valleys, where all that could be seen was a white waste of
unvarying snow.  We had been a little distance inland, but now worked
our way down toward the coast.  Once we crossed an inlet where we had
to climb over great blocks of ice that the tide in its force had piled
there.

Just at dusk the Eskimos halted.  We had reached the place where the
tupek should have been, but none was there.  Afterward I learned that
the people whom Potokomik expected to find here had been caught on
their way from Whale River by the ice and their boat was crushed.

Another consultation was held, and as a result we started on again.
After a two hours' march Potokomik halted and the others left us.
Easton and I threw ourselves at full length upon the snow and went to
sleep on the instant.  A rifle shot aroused us, and Potokomik jumped
to his feet with the exclamation, "Igloo!"  We followed him toward
where Kumuk was shouting, through a bit of bush, down a bank, across a
frozen brook and up a slope, where we found a miserable little log
shack.  No one was there.  It was a filthy place and snow had drifted
in through the openings in the roof and side.  The previous occupant
of the hut had left behind him an ax and an old stove, and with a few
sticks of wood that we found a fire was started and we huddled close
to it in a vain effort to get warm.  When the fire died out we found
places to lie down, and, shivering with the cold, tried with poor
success to sleep.

I had another chill that night and severe cramps in the calves of my
legs, and when morning came and Easton said he could not travel
another twenty yards, I agreed at once to a plan of the Eskimos to
leave us there while they went on to look for other Eskimos whom they
expected to find in winter quarters east of Whale River.  Potokomik
promised to send them with dogs to our rescue and then go on with a
letter to Job Edmunds, the Hudson's Bay Company's agent at Whale
River.  This letter to Edmunds I scribbled on a stray bit of paper I
found in my pocket, and in it told him of our position, and lack of
food and clothing.

Potokomik left his rifle and some cartridges with us, and then with
the promise that help should find us ere we had slept three times, we
shook hands with our dusky friend upon whose honor and faithfulness
our lives now depended, and the three were gone in the face of a
blinding snowstorm.

Shortly after the Eskimos left us we heard some ptarmigans clucking
outside, and Easton knocked three of them over with Potokomik's rifle.
There were four, but one got away.  It can be imagined what work the
.45 bullet made of them.  After separating the flesh as far as
possible from the feathers, we boiled it in a tin can we had found
amongst the rubbish in the hut, and ate everything but the bills and
toe-nails--bones, entrails and all.  This, it will be remembered, was
the first food that we had had since noon of the day before.  We had
no tea and our only comfort-providing asset was one small piece of
plug tobacco.

Fortunately wood was not hard to get, but still not sufficiently
plentiful for us to have more than a light fire in the stove, which we
hugged pretty closely.

The storm grew in fury.  It shrieked around our illy built shack,
drifting the snow in through the holes and crevices until we could not
find a place to sit or lie that was free from it.  On the night of the
third day the weather cleared and settled, cold and rasping.  I took
the rifle and looked about for game, but the snow was now so deep that
walking far in it was out of the question.  I did not see the track or
sign of any living thing save a single whisky-jack, but even he was
shy and kept well out of range.

We had nothing to eat--not a mouthful of anything--and only water to
drink; even our tobacco was soon gone.  Day after day we sat,
sometimes in silence, for hours at a time, sometimes calculating upon
the probabilities of the Eskimos having perished in the storm, for
they were wholly without protection.  I had faith in Potokomik and his
resourcefulness, and was hopeful they would get out safely.  If there
had been timber in the country where night shelter could be made, we
might have started for Whale River without further delay.  But in the
wide waste barrens, illy clothed, with deep snow to wallow through, it
seemed to me absolutely certain that such an attempt would end in
exhaustion and death, so we restrained our impatience and waited.  On
scraps of paper we played tit-tat-toe; we improvised a checkerboard
and played checkers.  These pastimes broke the monotony of waiting
somewhat.  No matter what we talked about, our conversation always
drifted to something to eat.  We planned sumptuous banquets we were to
have at that uncertain period "when we get home," discussing in the
minutest detail each dish.  Once or twice Easton roused me in the
night to ask whether after all some other roast or soup had not better
be selected than the one we had decided upon, or to suggest a change
in vegetables.

We slept five times instead of thrice and still no succor came.  The
days were short, the nights interminably long.  I knew we could live
for twelve or fifteen days easily on water.  I had recovered entirely
from the chills and cramps and we were both feeling well but, of
course, rather weak.  We had lost no flesh to speak of.  The extreme
hunger had passed away after a couple of days.  It is only when
starving people have a little to eat that the hunger period lasts
longer than that.  Novelists write a lot of nonsense about the pangs
of hunger and the extreme suffering that accompanies starvation.  It
is all poppycock.  Any healthy person, with a normal appetite, after
missing two or three meals is as hungry as he ever gets.  After awhile
there is a sense of weakness that grows on one, and this increases
with the days.  Then there comes a desire for a great deal of sleep, a
sort of lassitude that is not unpleasant, and this desire becomes more
pronounced as the weakness grows.  The end is always in sleep.  There
is no keeping awake until the hour of death.

While, as I have said, the real sense of hunger passes away quickly
there remains the instinct to eat.  That is the working of the first
law of nature--self-preservation.  It prompts one to eat anything that
one can chew or swallow, and it is what makes men eat refuse the
thought of which would sicken them at other times.  Of course, Easton
and I were like everybody else under similar conditions.  Easton said
one day that he would like to have something to chew on.  In the
refuse on the floor I found a piece of deerskin about ten inches
square.  I singed the hair off of it and divided it equally between us
and then we each roasted our share and ate it.  That was the evening
after we had "slept" five times.

After disposing of our bit of deerskin we huddled down on the floor
with our heads pillowed upon sticks of wood, as was our custom, for a
sixth night, after discussing again the probable fate of the Eskimos.
While I did not admit to Easton that I entertained any doubt as to our
ultimate rescue, as the days passed and no relief came I felt grave
fears as to the safety of Potokomik and his companions.  The severe
storm that swept over the country after their departure from the shack
had no doubt materially deepened the snow, and I questioned whether or
not this had made it impossible for them to travel without snowshoes.
The wind during the second day of the storm had been heavy, and it was
my hope that it had swept the barrens clear of the new snow, but this
was uncertain and doubtful.  Then, too, I did not know the nature of
Eskimos--whether they were wont to give up quickly in the face of
unusual privations and difficulties such as these men would have to
encounter.  They were in a barren country, with no food, no blankets,
no tent, no protection, in fact, of any kind from the elements, and it
was doubtful whether they would find material for a fire at night to
keep them from freezing, and, even if they did find wood, they had no
ax with which to cut it.  How far they would have to travel surrounded
by these conditions I had no idea.  Indians without wood or food or a
sheltering bush would soon give up the fight and lie down to die.  If
Potokomik and his men had perished, I knew that Easton and I could
hope for no relief from the outside and that our salvation would
depend entirely upon our own resourcefulness.  It seemed to me the
time had come when some action must be taken.

It was a long while after dark, I do not know how long, and I still
lay awake turning these things over in my mind, when I heard a strange
sound.  Everything had been deathly quiet for days, and I sat up.  In
the great unbroken silence of the wilderness a man's fancy will make
him hear strange things.  I have answered the shouts of men that my
imagination made me hear.  But this was not fancy, for I heard it
again--a distinct shout!  I jumped to my feet and called to Easton:
"They've come, boy!  Get up, there's some one coming!"  Then I hurried
outside and, in the dim light on the white stretch of snow, saw a
black patch of men and dogs.  Our rescuers had come.



CHAPTER XVII

TO WHALE RIVER AND FORT CHIMO

The feeling of relief that came to me when I heard the shout and saw
the men and dogs coming can be appreciated, and something of the
satisfaction I felt when I grasped the hands of the two Eskimos that
strode up on snowshoes can be understood.

The older of the two was an active little fellow who looked much like
a Japanese.  He introduced himself as Emuk (Water).  His companion,
who, we learned later, rejoiced in the name Amnatuhinuk (Only a
Woman), was quite a young fellow, big, fat and goodnatured.

Without any preliminaries Emuk pushed right into the shack and, from a
bag that he carried, produced some tough dough cakes which he gave us
to eat, and each a plug of tobacco to smoke.  He was all activity and
command, working quickly himself and directing Amnatuhinuk.  A candle
from his bag was lighted.  Amnatuhinuk was sent for a kettle of water;
wood was piled into the stove, and the kettle put over to boil.  The
stove proved too slow for Emuk and he built a fire outside where tea
could be made more quickly, and when it was ready he insisted upon our
drinking several cups of it to stimulate us.  Then he brought forth a
pail containing strong-smelling beans cooked in rancid seal oil, which
he heated.  This concoction he thought was good strong food and just
the thing for half-starved men, and he set it before us with the air
of one who has done something especially nice.  We ate some of it but
were as temperate as Emuk with his urgings would permit us to be, for
I knew the penalty that food exacts after a long fast.

A comfortable bed of boughs and blankets was spread for us, and we
were made to lie down.  Emuk, on more than one occasion, bad been in a
similar position to ours and others had come to his aid, and he wanted
to pay the debt he felt he owed to humanity.

He told us that Potokomik and the others, after suffering great
hardships, had reached his tupek near the Mukalik the day before, but
I could not understand his language well enough to draw from him any
of the details of their trip out.

At midnight Emuk made tea again and roused us up to partake of it and
eat more dough cakes and beans with seal oil.  I feared the
consequences, but I could not refuse him, for he did not understand
why we should not want to eat a great deal.  The result was that with
happiness and stomach ache I could not sleep, and before morning was
going out to vomit.  Even at the danger of seeming not to appreciate
Emuk's hospitality, I was constrained to decline to eat any breakfast.

Emuk noticed a hole in the bottom of one of my seal-skin boots.  He
promptly pulled off his own and made me put them on.  He had another
though poorer pair for himself.

It was a delight to be moving again.  We were on the trail before
dawn, Emuk with his snowshoes tramping the road ahead of the dogs and
Amnatuhinuk driving the team.  The temperature must have been at least
ten degrees below zero.  The weather was bitterly cold for men so
thinly clad as Easton and I were, and the snow was so deep that we
could not exercise by running, for we had no snowshoes, and while we
wallowed through the deep snow the dogs would have left us behind, so
we could do nothing but sit on the komatik (sledge) and shiver.

At noon we stopped at the foot of a hill before ascending it, and the
men threw up a wind-break of snow blocks, back of which they built a
fire and put over the teakettle.  Easton and I had just squatted close
to the fire to warm our benumbed hands when the husky dogs put their
noses in the air and gave out the long weird howl of welcome or
defiance that announces the approach of other dogs, and almost
immediately a loaded team with two men came over the hill and down the
slope at a gallop toward us.  It proved to be Job Edmunds, the half-
breed Hudson's Bay Company officer from Whale River, and his Eskimo
servant, coming to our aid.

Edmunds was greatly relieved to find us safe.  He knew exactly what to
do.  From his komatik box he produced a bottle of port wine and made
us each take a small dose of it which he poured into a tin cup.  He
put a big, warm reindeer-skin koolutuk [the outer garment of deerskin
worn by the Eskimos] on each of us and pulled the hoods over our
heads.  He had warm footwear--in fact, everything that was necessary
for our comfort.  Then he cut two ample slices of wheat bread from a
big loaf, and toasted and buttered them for us.  He was very kind and
considerate.  Edmunds has saved many lives in his day.  Every winter
he is called upon to go to the rescue of Eskimos who have been caught
in the barrens without food, as we were.  He had saved Emuk from
starvation on one or two occasions.

After a half-hour's delay we were off again, I on the komatik with
Edmunds, and Easton with Emuk.  We passed the snow house where Edmunds
and his man had spent the previous night.  They would have come on in
the dark, but they knew Emuk was ahead and would reach us anyway.

Edmunds had a splendid team of dogs, wonderfully trained.  The big,
wolfish creatures loved him and they feared him.  He almost never had
to use the long walrus-hide whip.  They obeyed him on the instant
without hesitation--"Ooisht," and they pulled in the harness as one;
"Aw," and they stopped.  There was a power in his voice that governed
them like magic.  The wind had packed the snow hard enough on the
barrens beyond the Tuktotuk--and the country there was all barren--to
bear up the komatik; the dogs were in prime condition and traveled at
a fast trot or a gallop, and we made good time.  Once Emuk stopped to
take a white fox out of a trap.  He killed it by pressing his knee on
its breast and stifling its heart beats.

Big cakes of ice were piled in high barricades along the rivers where
we crossed them, and at these places we had to let the komatik down
with care on one side and help the dogs haul it up with much labor on
the other; and on the level, through the rough ice hummocks or amongst
the rocks, the drivers were kept busy steering to prevent collisions
with the obstructions, while the dogs rushed madly ahead, and we, on
the komatik, clung on for dear life and watched our legs that they
might not get crushed.  Once or twice we turned over, but the drivers
never lost their hold of the komatik or control of the dogs.

It was dark when we reached Emuk's skin tupek and were welcomed by a
group of Eskimos, men, women and children.  Iksialook was of the
number, and he was so worn and haggard that I scarcely recognized him.
He had seen hardship since our parting.  The people were very dirty
and very hospitable.  They took us into the tupek at once, which was
extremely filthy and made insufferably hot by a sheet-iron tent stove.
The women wore sealskin trousers and in the long hoods of their
_adikeys_, or upper garments, carried babies whose bright little
dusky-hued faces peeped timidly out at us over the mothers' shoulders.
A ptarmigan was boiled and divided between Easton and me, and with
that and bread and butter from Edmunds's box and hot tea we made a
splendid supper.  After a smoke all around, for the women smoke as
well as the men, polar bear and reindeer skins were spread upon spruce
boughs, blankets were given us for covering, and we lay down.  Eleven
of us crowded into the tupek and slept there that night.  How all the
Eskimos found room I do not know.  I was crowded so tightly between
one of the fat women on one side and Easton on the other that I could
not turn over; but I slept as I had seldom ever slept before.

The next forenoon we crossed the Mukalik River and soon after reached
Whale River, big and broad, with blocks of ice surging up and down
upon the bosom of the restless tide.  The Post is about ten miles from
its mouth.  We turned northward along its east bank and, in a little
while, came to some scattered spruce woods, which Edmunds told me were
just below his home.  Then at a creek, above which stood the miniature
log cabin and small log storehouse comprising the Post buildings, I
got off and climbed up through rough ice barricades.

Never in my life have I had such a welcome as I received here.  Mrs.
Edmunds came out to meet me.  She told me that they had been watching
for us at the Post all the morning and how glad they were that we were
safe, and that we had come to see them, and that we must stay a good
long time and rest.  For two-score years they had lived in that
desolate place and never before had a traveler come to visit them.  In
all that time the only white people they had ever met were the three
or four connected with the Post at Fort Chimo, for the ship never
calls at Whale River on her rounds.  Edmunds brings the provisions
over from Fort Chimo in a little schooner.  There are five in the
family--Edmunds and his wife, their daughter (a young woman of twenty)
and her husband, Sam Ford (a son of John Ford at George River), and
Mary's baby.

A good wash and clean clothing followed by a sumptuous dinner of
venison put us on our feet again.  I suffered little as a result of
the fasting period, but Easton had three or four days of pretty severe
colic.  This is the usual result of feast after famine, and was to be
expected.

And now I learned the details of Potokomik's journey out.  When the
three Eskimos left us in the shack they started at once in search of
Emuk's tupek.  The storm that raged for two days swept pitilessly
across their path, but they never halted, pushing through the deep-
ening snow in single file, taking turns at going ahead and breaking
the way, until night, and then they stopped.  They had no ax and could
have no fire, so they built themselves a snow igloo as best they could
without the proper implements and it protected them against the
drifting snow and piercing wind while they slept.  On the second day
they shot, with their rifles, seven ptarmigans.  These they plucked
and ate raw.  They saw no more game, and finally became so weak and
exhausted they could carry their rifles no farther and left them on
the trail.  Each night they built a snow house.  With increasing
weakness their progress was very slow; still they kept going,
staggering on and on through the snow.  It was only their lifelong
habit of facing great odds and enduring great hardships that kept them
up.  Men less inured to cold and privation would surely have
succumbed.  They were making their final fight when at last they
stumbled into Emuk's tupek.  Kumuk sat down and cried like a child.
It was two weeks before any of them was able to do any physical work.
They looked like shadows of their former selves when I saw them at
Whale River.

It was after dark Sunday night when my letter to Edmunds reached the
Post.  Earlier in the evening Edmunds and his man had crossed the
river, which is here over half a mile in width, and pitched their camp
on the opposite shore, preparatory to starting up the river the next
morning on a deer hunt, herds having been reported to the northward by
Eskimos.  Mrs. Edmunds read the letter, and she and Mary were at once
all excitement.  They lighted a lantern and signaled to the camp on
the other side and fired guns until they had a reply.  Then, for fear
that Edmunds might not understand the urgency of his immediate returns
they kept firing at intervals all night, stopping only to pack the
komatik box with the clothing and food that Edmunds was to bring to
us.  Neither of the women slept.  With the thought of men starving out
in the snow they could not rest.  The floating ice in the river and
the swift tide made it impossible for a boat to cross in the darkness,
but with daylight Edmunds returned, harnessed his dogs, and was off to
meet us as has been described.

We had left George River on October twenty-second, and it was the
eighth of November when we reached Whale River, and in this interval
the caribou herds that the Indians had reported west of the Koksoak
had passed to the east of Whale River and turned to the northward.
Fifty miles inland the Indian and Eskimo hunters had met them.  The
killing was over and they told us hundreds of the animals lay dead in
the snow above.  So many had been butchered that all the dogs and men
in Ungava would be well supplied with meat during the winter, and
numbers of the carcasses would feed the packs of timber wolves that
infested the country or rot in the next summer's sun.  Sam Ford had
gone inland but was too late for the big hunt and only killed four or
five deer.  The wolves were so thick, he told us, that he could not
sleep at night in his camp with the noise of their howling.  One
Eskimo brought in two wolf skins that were so large when they were
stretched a man could almost have crawled into either of them.  I saw
wolf tracks myself within a quarter mile of the Post, for the animals
were so bold they ventured almost to the door.

Edmunds is a famous hunter.  During the previous winter, besides
attending to his post duties, he killed nearly half a hundred caribou
to supply his Post and Fort Chimo with man and dog food, and in the
same season his traps yielded him two hundred fox pelts--mostly white
ones--his personal catch.  This was not an unusual year's work for
him.  Mary inherits her father's hunting instincts.  In the morning
she would put her baby in the hood of her adikey, shoulder her gun,
don her snowshoes, and go to "tend" her traps.  One day she did not
take her gun, and when she had made her rounds of the traps and
started homeward discovered that she was being followed by a big gray
timber wolf.  When she stopped, the wolf stopped; when she went on, it
followed, stealing gradually closer and closer to her, almost
imperceptibly, but still gaining upon her.  She wanted to run, but she
realized that if she did the wolf would know at once that she was
afraid and would attack and kill her and her baby; so without
hastening her pace, and only looking back now and again to note the
wolf's gain, she reached the door of the house and entered with the
animal not ten paces away.  Now she always carries a gun and feels no
fear, for she can shoot.

I took advantage of the delay at Whale River to partially outfit for
the winter.  Edmunds and his family rendered us valuable assistance
and advice, securing for us, from the Eskimos, sealskin boots, and
from the Indians who came to the Post while we were there, deer skins
for trousers, koolutuks and sleeping bags, Mrs. Edmunds and Mary
themselves making our moccasins, mittens and duffel socks.

The Eskimos were all away at their hunting grounds and it was not
possible to secure a dog team to carry us on to Fort Chimo.
Therefore, when Edmunds announced one day that he must send Sam Ford
and the Eskimo servant over with the Post team for a load of
provisions, I availed myself of the opportunity to accompany them, and
on the twenty-eighth of November we said good-by to the friends who
had been so kind to us and again faced toward the westward.

The morning was clear, crisp and bracing; the temperature was twenty
degrees below zero.  We ascended the river some seven or eight miles
before we found a safe crossing, as the tide had kept the ice broken
in the center of the channel below, and piled it like hills along the
banks.

I noted that the Whale River valley was much better wooded than any
country we had seen for a long time--since we had left the head waters
of the George River, in fact--and the Indians say it is so to its
source.  The trees are small black spruce and larch, but a fairly
thick growth.  This "bush," however, is evidently quite restricted in
width, for after crossing the river we were almost immediately out of
it, and the same interminable, barren, rocky, treeless country that we
had seen to the eastward extended westward to the Koksoak.

That night was spent in a snow igloo.  The next day we crossed the
False River, a wide stream at its mouth, but a little way up not over
two hundred yards wide.  At twelve o'clock a halt was made at an
Eskimo tupek for dinner.

The people were, as these northern people always are, most hospitable,
giving us the best they had--fresh venison and tea.  After but an
hour's delay we were away again, and at three o'clock, with the dogs
on a gallop, rounded the hill above Fort Chimo and pulled into the
Post, the farthest limit of white man's habitation in all Labrador.

We were welcomed by Mr. Duncan Mathewson, the Chief Trader, who has
charge of the Ungava District for the Hudson's Bay Company, and Dr.
Alexander Milne, Assistant Commissioner of the Company, from Winnipeg,
who had arrived on the _Pelican_ and was on a tour of inspection of
the Labrador Coast Posts.

The Chief Trader's residence is a small building, and Mr. Mathewson
was unable to entertain us in the house, but he gave orders at once to
have a commodious room in one of the dozen or so other buildings of
the Post fitted up for us with beds, stove and such simple furnishings
as were necessary to establish us in housekeeping and make us
comfortable during our stay with him.  Here we were to remain until
the Indian and Eskimo hunters came for their Christmas and New Year's
trading, at which time, I was advised, I should probably be able to
engage Eskimo drivers and dogs to carry us eastward to the Atlantic
coast.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE INDIANS OF THE NORTH

Fort Chmio is situated upon the east bank of the Koksoak River and
about twenty-five miles from its mouth, where the river is nearly a
mile and a half wide.  There are two trading posts here; one, that of
the Hudson's Bay Company, consisting of a dozen or so buildings, which
include dwelling and storehouses and native cabins; the other that of
Revellion Brothers, the great fur house of Paris, colloquially
referred to as "the French Company," which stands just above and ad-
joining the station of the Hudson's Bay Company.  This latter Post was
erected in the year 1903, and has nearly as many buildings as the
older establishment.  We used to refer to them respectively as
"London" and "Paris."

The history of Fort Chimo extends back to the year 1811, when Kmoch
and Kohlmeister, two of the Moravian Brethren of the Okak Mission on
the Atlantic coast, in the course of their efforts for the conversion
of the Eskimos to Christianity cruised into Ungava Bay, discovered the
George River, which they named in honor of King George the Third, and
then proceeded to the Koksoak, which they ascended to the point of the
present settlement.  The natives received them well.  They erected a
beacon on a hill, tarried but a few days and then turned back to Okak.
Upon their return they gave glowing accounts of their reception by the
natives and the great possibilities for profitable trade, but they did
not deem it advisable themselves to extend their labors to that field.

In the course of time this report drifted to England and to the ears
of the officials of the Hudson's Bay Company, who were attracted by
it, and in 1827 Dr. Mendry, an officer of the Company at Moose
Factory, with a party of white men and Indian guides crossed the
peninsula from Richmond Gulf, through Clearwater Lake to the head
waters of the Larch River, a tributary of the Koksoak, thence
descended the Larch and Koksoak to the place where the Moravians had
erected the beacon, and on a low terrace, just across the river from
the beacon, established the original Fort Chimo.  The difficulties of
navigation and the consequent uncertainty and expense of keeping the
Post supplied with provisions and articles of trade were such,
however, that after a brief trial Ungava was abandoned.

The opportunities for lucrative trade here were not forgotten by the
Company, and in the year 1837 Factor John McLean was detailed to re-
establish Fort Chimo.  This he did, and a year later built the first
Post at George River.  During the succeeding winter he crossed the
interior with dogs to Northwest River.  Upon their return journey
McLean and his party ate their dogs and barely escaped perishing from
starvation; one of his Indians, who was sent ahead, reaching Fort
Chimo and bringing succor when McLean and the others, through extreme
weakness, were unable to proceed farther.  In the following summer
McLean built the fort on Indian House Lake, and the other one that has
been mentioned, on a large lake to the westward--Lake Eraldson he
called it--presumably the source of Whale River.  Later he succeeded
in crossing to Northwest River by canoe, ascending the George River
and descending the Atlantic slope of the plateau by way of the Grand
River.  His object was to establish a regular line of communication
between Fort Chimo and Northwest River, with interior posts along the
route.  The natural obstacles which the country presented finally
forced the abandonment of this plan as impracticable, and the two
interior posts were closed after a brief trial.  This was before the
days of steam navigation, and with sailing vessels it was only
possible to reach these isolated northern stations in Ungava Bay with
supplies once every two years.  Even these infrequent visits were so
fraught with danger and uncertainty that finally, in 1855, Fort Chimo
and George River were again abandoned as unprofitable.  In 1866,
however, the building of the Company's steamship Labrador made yearly
visits possible, and in that year another attack was made upon the
Ungava district and Fort Chimo was rebuilt, George River Post re-
established, and a little later the small station at Whale River was
erected.  With the improved facilities for transportation the trade
with Indians and Eskimos, and the salmon and white whale fisheries
carried on by the Posts, now proved most profitable, and the Company
has since and is still reaping the reward of its persistence.

Dr. Milne, as has been stated, was not a permanent resident of the
Post.  Regularly stationed here, besides Mathewson, there is a young
clerk, a cooper, a carpenter, and a handy man, all Scotchmen, and a
comparatively new arrival, Rev. Samuel M. Stewart, a missionary of the
Church Mission Society of England.  Of Mr. Stewart, who did much to
relieve the monotony of our several weeks' sojourn at Fort Chimo, and
his remarkable self-sacrifice and work, I shall have something to say
later.

The day after our arrival we took occasion to pay our respects to
Monsieur D. The'venet, the officer in charge of the "French Post." Our
reception was most cordial.  M. The'venet is a gentleman by birth.  He
was at one time an officer in the French cavalry, but his love of
adventure and active temperament rebelled against the inactivity of
garrison duty and he resigned his commission in the army, came to
Canada, and joined the Northwest mounted police in the hope of
obtaining a detail in the Klondike.  In this he was disappointed, and
the outbreak of the South African war offering a new field of
adventure he quit the police, enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles,
and served in the field throughout the war.  After his return to
Canada and discharge from the army, he took service with Revellion
Brothers.

M. The'venet invited us to dine with him that very evening, and we
were not slow to accept his hospitality.  His bright conversation,
pleasing personality and unstinted hospitality offered a delightful
evening and we were not disappointed.  This and many other pleasant
evenings spent in his society during our stay at Fort Chimo were some
of the most enjoyable of our trip.

Here an agreeable surprise awaited me.  When we sat down to dinner
The'venet called in his new half-breed French-Indian interpreter, and
who should he prove to be but Belfleur, one of the dog drivers who in
April, 1904, accompanied me from Northwest River to Rigolet, when I
began that anxious journey over the ice with Hubbard's body.  He was
apparently as well pleased at the meeting as I.  Belfleur and a half-
breed Scotch-Eskimo named Saunders are employed as Indian and Eskimo
interpreters at the French Post, and are the only ones of M.
The'venet's people with whom he can converse.  Belfleur speaks French
and broken English, and Saunders English, besides their native
languages.

None of the people of Ungava, with the exception of two or three,
speaks any but his mother tongue, and they have no ambition,
apparently, to extend their linguistic acquirements.  It is, indeed, a
lonely life for the trader, who but once a year, when his ship
arrives, has any communication with the great world which he has left
behind him.  No white woman is here with her softening influence, no
physician or surgeon to treat the sick and injured, and never until
the advent of Mr. Stewart any permanent missionary.

The natives that remain at Fort Chimo all the year are three or four
families of Eskimos, a few old or crippled Indians, and some half-
breed Indians and Eskimos, who do chores around the Posts and lead an
uncertain existence.  The half-breed Indian children are taken care of
at the "Indian house," a log structure presided over by the "Queen" of
Ungava, a very corpulent old Nascaupee woman, who lives by the labor
of others and draws tribute from trading Indians who make the Indian
house their rendezvous when they visit the Post.  She is and always
has been very kind, and a sort of mother, to the little waifs that
nearly every trader or white servant has left behind him, when the
Company's orders transferred him to some other Post and he abandoned
his temporary wife forever.

The Indians of the Ungava district are chiefly Nascaupees, with
occasionally a few Crees from the West.  "Nenenot" they call
themselves, which means perfect, true men.  "Nascaupee" means false or
untrue men and is a word of opprobrium applied to them by the
Mountaineers in the early days, because of their failure to keep a
compact to join forces with the latter at the time of the wars for
supremacy between the Indians and Eskimos.  Nascaupee is the name by
which they are known now, outside of their own lodges, and the one
which we shall use in referring to them.  In like manner I have chosen
to use the English Mountaineer, rather than the French _Montagnais_,
in speaking of the southern Indians.  North of the Straits of Belle
Isle the French word is never heard, and if you were to refer to these
Indians as "Montagnais" to the Labrador natives it is doubtful whether
you would be understood.

Both Mountaineers and Nascaupees are of Cree origin, and belong to the
great Algonquin family.  Their language is similar, with only the
variation of dialect that might be expected with the different
environments.  The Nascaupees have one peculiarity of speech, however,
which is decidedly their own.  In conversation their voice is raised
to a high pitch, or assumes a whining, petulant tone.  An outsider
might believe them to be quarreling and highly excited, when in fact
they are on the best of terms and discussing some ordinary subject in
a most matter of fact way.

In personal appearance the Nascaupees are taller and more angular than
their southern brothers, but the high cheek bones, the color and
general features are the same.  They are capable of enduring the
severest cold.  In summer cloth clothing obtained in barter at the
Posts is, worn, but in winter deerskin garments are usual.  The coat
has the hair inside, and the outside of the finely dressed,
chamoislike skin is decorated with various designs in color, in
startling combinations of blue, red and yellow, painted on with dyes
obtained at the Post or manufactured by themselves from fish roe and
mineral products.  When the garment has a hood it is sometimes the
skin of a wolf's head, with the ears standing and hair outside, giving
the wearer a startling and ferocious appearance.  Tight-fitting
deerskin or red cloth leggings decorated with beads, and deerskin
moccasins complete the costume.

Some beadwork trimming is made by the women, but they do little in the
way of needlework embroidery, and the results of their attempts in
this direction are very indifferent.  This applies to the full-blood
Nascaupees.  I have seen some fairly good specimens of moccasin
embroidery done by the half-breed women at the Post, and by the
Mountaineer women in the South.

The Nascaupees are not nearly so clean nor so prosperous as the
Mountaineers, and, coming very little in contact with the whites, live
now practically as their forefathers lived for untold generations
before them--just as they lived, in fact, before the white men came.
They are perhaps the most primitive Indians on the North American
continent to-day.

The Mountaineers, on the other hand, see much more, particularly
during the summer months, of the whites and half-breeds of the coast.
Most of those who spend their summers on the St. Lawrence, west of St.
Augustine, have more or less white blood in their veins through
consorting with the traders and settlers.  With but two or three
exceptions the Mountaineers of the Atlantic coast, Groswater Bay, and
at St. Augustine and the eastward, are pure, uncontaminated Indians.

The line of territorial division between the Nascaupee and Mountaineer
Indians' hunting grounds is pretty closely drawn.  The divide north of
Lake Michikamau is the southern and the George River the eastern boun-
dary of the Nascaupee territory, and to the south and to the east of
these boundaries, lie the hunting grounds of the Mountaineers.

These latter, south of the height of land, as has been stated, are
practically all under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and
are most devout in the observance of their religious obligations.
While it is true that their faith is leavened to some extent by the
superstitions that their ancestors have handed down to them, yet even
in the long months of the winter hunting season they never forget the
teachings of their father confessor.

The Nascaupees are heathens.  About the year 1877 or 1878 Father P'ere
Lacasse crossed overland from Northwest River, apparently by the Grand
River route, to Fort Chimo, in an attempt to carry the work of the
mission into that field.  The Nascaupees, however, did not take kindly
to the new religion, and unfortunately during the priest's stay among
them, which was brief, the hunting was bad.  This was attributed to
the missionary's presence, and the sachems were kept busy for a time
dispelling the evil charm.  No one was converted.  Let us hope that
Mr. Stewart, who is there to stay, and is an earnest, persistent
worker, will reach the savage confidence and conscience, though his
opportunity with the Indians is small, for these Nascaupees tarry but
a very brief time each year within his reach.  With open water in the
summer they come to the Fort with the pelts of their winter catch.
These are exchanged for arms, ammunition, knives, clothing, tea and
tobacco, chiefly.  Then, after a short rest they disappear again into
the fastnesses of the wilderness above, to fish the interior lakes and
hunt the forests, and no more is seen of them until the following
summer, excepting only a few of the younger men who usually emerge
from the silent, snow-bound land during Christmas week to barter skins
for such necessaries as they are in urgent need of, and to get drunk
on a sort of beer, a concoction of hops, molasses and unknown
ingredients, that the Post dwellers make and the "Queen" dispenses
during the holiday festivals.

Reindeer, together with ptarmigans (Arctic grouse) and fish, form
their chief food supply, with tea always when they can get it.  All of
these northern Indiana are passionately fond of tea, and drink
unbelievable quantities of it.  Little flour is used.  The deer are
erratic in their movements and can never be depended upon with any
degree of certainty, and should the Indians fail in their hunt they
are placed face to face with starvation, as was the case in the winter
of 1892 and 1893, when full half of the people perished from lack of
food.

Formerly the migrating herds pretty regularly crossed the Koksoak very
near and just above the Post in their passage to the eastward in the
early autumn, but for several years now only small bands have been
seen here, the Indians meeting the deer usually some forty or fifty
miles farther up the river.  When the animals swim the river they
bunch close together; Indian canoe men head them off and turn them up-
stream, others attacking the helpless animals with spears.  An agent
of the Hudson's Bay Company told me that he had seen nearly four
hundred animals slaughtered in this manner in a few hours.  When bands
of caribou are met in winter they are driven into deep snow banks,
and, unable to help themselves, are speared at will.

Of course when the killing is a large one the flesh of all the animals
cannot be preserved, and frequently only the tongues are used.  Of
late years, however, owing to the growing scarcity of reindeer, it is
said the Indians have learned to be a little less wasteful than for-
merly, and to restrict their kill more nearly to their needs, though
during the winter I was there hundreds were slaughtered for tongues
and sinew alone.  Large quantities of the venison are dried and stored
up against a season of paucity.  Pemmican, which was formerly so
largely used by our western Indians, is occasionally though not
generally made by those of Labrador.  When deer are killed some bone,
usually a shoulder blade, is hung in a tree as an offering to the
Manitou, that he may not interfere with future hunts, and drive the
animals away.

The Indian religion is not one of worship, but one of fear and
superstition.  They are constanly in dread of imaginary spirits that
haunt the wilderness and drive away the game or bring sickness or
other disaster upon them.  The conjurer is employed to work his charms
to keep off the evil ones.  They evidently have some sort of
indefinite belief in a future existence, and hunting implements and
other offerings are left with the dead, who, where the conditions will
permit, are buried in the ground.

Sometimes the very old people are abandoned and left to die of
starvation unattended.  Be it said to the honor of the trading
companies that they do their utmost to prevent this when it is
possible, and offer the old and decrepit a haven at the Post, where
they are fed and cared for.

The marriage relation is held very lightly and continence and chastity
are not in their sight virtues.  A child born to an unmarried woman is
no impediment to her marriage.  If it is a male child it is, in fact,
an advantage.  Love does not enter into the Indian's marriage
relationship.  It is a mating for convenience.  Gifts are made to the
girl's father or nearest male relative, and she is turned over,
whether she will or no, to the would-be husband.  There is no
ceremony.  A hunter has as many wives as he is physically able to
control and take care of--one, two or even three.  Sometimes it
happens that they combine against him and he receives at their hands
what is doubtless well-merited chastisement.

The men are the hunters, the women the slaves.  No one finds fault
with this, not even the women, for it is an Indian custom immemorial
for the woman to do all the hard, physical work.

The Mountaineer Indians that we met on the George River, and one
Indian who visited Fort Chimo while we were there, are the only ones
of the Labrador that I have ever seen drive dogs.  This Fort Chimo
Indian, unlike the other hunters of his people, has spent much time at
the Post, and mingled much with the white traders and the Eskimos,
and, for an Indian, entertains very progressive and broad views.  He
was, with the exception of a humpbacked post attache' who had an
Eskimo wife, the only Indian I met that would not be insulted when one
addressed him in Eskimo, for the Indians and Eskimos carry on no
social intercourse and the Indians rather despise the Eskimos.  The
Indian referred to, however, has learned something of the Eskimo
language, and also a little English--English that you cannot always
understand, but must take for granted.  He informed me, "Me three
man--Indian, husky (Eskimo), white man." He was very proud of his
accomplishments.

The Indian hauls his loads in winter on toboggans, which he
manufactures himself with his ax and crooked knife--the only
woodworking tools he possesses.  The crooked knives he makes, too,
from old files, shaping and tempering them.

The snowshoe frames are made by the men, the babiche is cut and netted
by the women, who display wonderful skill in this work.  The
Mountaineers make  much finer netted snowshoes than the Nascaupees,
and have great pride in the really beautiful, light snowshoes that
they make.  No finer ones are to be found anywhere than those made by
the Groswater Bay Mountaineers.  Three shapes are in vogue--the beaver
tail, the egg tail and the long tail.  The beaver-tail snowshoes are
much more difficult to make, and are seldom seen amongst the
Nascaupees.  With them the egg tail is the favorite.

The Ungava Indians never go to the open bay in their canoes.  They
have a superstition that it will bring them bad luck, for there they
say the evil spirits dwell.  Of all the Indians that visit Fort Chimo
only two or three have ever ventured to look upon the waters of Ungava
Bay, and these had their view from a hilltop at a safe distance.

It is safe to say that there is not a truthful Indian in Labrador.  In
fact it is considered an accomplishment to lie cheerfully and well.
They are like the Crees of James Bay and the westward in this respect,
and will lie most plausibly when it will serve their purpose better
than truth, and I verily believe these Indians sometimes lie for the
mere pleasure of it when it might be to their advantage to tell the
truth.

One good and crowning characteristic these children of the Ungava
wilderness possess--that of honesty.  They will not steal.  You may
have absolute confidence in them in this respect.  And I may say, too,
that they are most hospitable to the traveler, as our own experience
with them exemplified.  For their faults they must not be condemned.
They live according to their lights, and their lights are those of the
untutored savage who has never heard the gospel of Christianity and
knows nothing of the civilization of the great world outside.  Their
life is one of constant struggle for bare existence, and it is truly
wonderful how they survive at all in the bleak wastes which they
inhabit.

NOTE.--It must not be supposed that all of the statements made in this
chapter with reference to the Indian, particularly the Nascaupees, are
the result of my personal observations.  During our brief stay at
Ungava, much of this information was gleaned from the officers of the
two trading companies, and from natives.  In a number of instances
they were verified by myself, but I have taken the liberty, when doubt
or conflicting statements existed, of referring to the works of Mr. A.
P. Low of the Canadian Geological Society and Mr. Lucien M. Turner of
the Bureau of Ethnology at Washington, to set myself right.



CHAPTER XIX

THE ESKIMOS OF LABRADOR

During our stay in Ungava, and the succeeding weeks while we traveled
down the ice-bound coast, we were brought into constant and intimate
contact with the Eskimos.  We saw them in almost every phase of their
winter life, eating and sleeping with them in their tupeks and igloos,
and meeting them in their hunting camps and at the Fort, when they
came to barter and to enjoy the festivities of the Christmas holiday
week.

The Cree Indians used to call these people "Ashkimai," which means
"raw meat eaters," and it is from this appellation that our word
Eskimo is derived.  Here in Ungava and on the coast of Hudson's Bay,
they are pretty generally known as "Huskies," a contraction of
"Huskimos," the pronunciation given to the word _Eskimos_ by the
English sailors of the trading vessels, with their well-known penchant
for tacking on the "h" where it does not belong, and leaving it off
when it should be pronounced.

The Eskimos call themselves "Innuit," [Singular, Innuk; dual, Innuek]
which means people--humans.  The white visitor is a "Kablunak," or
outlander, while a breed born in the country is a "Kablunangayok," or
one partaking of the qualities of both the Innuk and the Kablunak.
Those who live in the Koksoak district are called "Koksoagmiut," * and
those of the George River district are the "Kangerlualuksoagmiut." **

The ethnologists, I believe, have never agreed upon the origin of the
Eskimo, some claiming it is Mongolian, some otherwise.  In passing I
shall simply remark that in appearance they certainly resemble the
Mongolian race.  If some of the men that I saw in the North were
dressed like Japanese or Chinese and placed side by side with them,
the one could not be told from the other so long as the Eskimos kept
their mouths closed.

In our old school geographies we used to see them pictured as stockily
built little fellows.  In real life they compare well in stature with
the white man of the temperate zone.  With a very few exceptions the
Eskimos of Ungava average over five feet eight inches in height, with
some six-footers.

* _Kok_, river; _soak_, big; _miut_, inhabitants; _Koksoagmiut_,
inhabitants of the big river.

** Literally, inhabitants of the very big bay.  The George River
mouth widens into a bay which is known as the Very Big Bay.

Their legs are shorter and their bodies longer than the white man's,
and this probably is one reason why they have such wonderful capacity
for physical endurance.  In this respect they are the superior of the
Indian.  With plenty of food and a bush to lie under at night the
Indian will doubtless travel farther in a given time than the Eskimo.
But turn them both loose with only food enough for one meal a day for
a month on the bare rocks or ice fields of the Arctic North, and your
Indian will soon be dead, while your Eskimo will emerge from the test
practically none the worse for his experience, for it is a usual
experience with him and he has a wonderful amount of dogged
perseverance.  The Eskimo knows better how to husband his food than
the Indian; and give him a snow bank and he can make himself
comfortable anywhere.  The most gluttonous Indian would turn green
with envy to see the quantities of meat the Eskimo can stow away
within his inner self at a single sitting; but on the other hand he
can live, and work hard too, on a single scant meal a day, just as his
dogs do.

The facial characteristics of the Eskimo are wide cheek bones and
round, full face, with a flat, broad nose.  I used to look at these
flat, comfortable noses on very cold days and wish that for winter
travel I might be able to exchange the longer face projection that my
Scotch-Irish forbears have handed down to me for one of them, for they
are not so easily frosted in a forty or fifty degrees below zero
temperature.  By the way, if you ever get your nose frozen do not rub
snow on it. If you do you will rub all the skin off, and have a pretty
sore member to nurse for some time afterward.  Grasp it, instead, in
your bare hand.  That is the Eskimo's way, and he knows.  My advice is
founded upon experience.

They are not so dark-hued as the Indians--in fact, many of them are no
darker than the average white man under like conditions of exposure to
wind and storm and sun would be.  The hair is straight, black, coarse
and abundant.  The men usually wear it hanging below their ears, cut
straight around, with a forehead bang reaching nearly to the eyebrows.
The women wear it braided and looped up on the sides of the head.

What constitutes beauty is of course largely a question of individual
taste.  My own judgment of the Eskimos is that they are very ugly,
although I have seen young women among them whom I thought actually
handsome.  This was when they first arrived at the Post with dogs and
komatik and they were dressed in their native costume of deerskin
trousers and Koolutuk, their cheeks red and glowing with the exercise
of travel and the keen, frosty atmosphere.  A half hour later I have
seen the same women when stringy, dirty skirts had replaced the neat-
fitting trousers, and Dr. Grenfell's description of them when thus
clad invariably came to my mind: "A bedraggled kind of mop, soaked in
oil and filth."  This tendency to ape civilization by wearing
civilized garments, is happily confined to their brief sojourns at the
Post.  When they are away at their camps and igloos their own costume
is almost exclusively worn, and is the best possible costume for the
climate and the country.  The adikey, or koolutuk, of the women, has a
long flap or tail, reaching nearly to the heels, and a sort of apron
in front.  The hood is so commodious in size that a baby can be tucked
away into it, and that is the way the small children are carried.  The
men wear cloth trousers except in the very cold weather, when they don
their deer or seal skins.  Their adikey or koolutuk reaches half way
to their knees, and is cut square around.  The hood of course, in
their case, is only large enough to cover the head.  It might be of
interest to explain that if this garment is made of cloth it is an
_adikey_; if of deerskin, a _koolutuk_, and if made of sealskin, a
_netsek_--all cut alike.  If they wear two cloth garments at the same
time, as is usually the case, the inner one only is an adikey, the
outer one a silapak.

Their language is the same from Greenland to Alaska.  Of course
different localities have different dialects, but this is the natural
result of a different environment.  Missionary Bohlman, whom I met at
Hebron, told me that before coming to Labrador he was attached to a
Greenland mission.  When he came to Ms new field he found the language
so similar to that in Greenland that he had very little difficulty in
making himself understood.  When Missionary Stecker a few years ago
went from Labrador to Alaska he was able to converse with the Alaskan
Eskimos.  It is held by some authorities that Greenland was peopled by
Labrador Eskimos who crossed Hudson Strait to Baffin Land, and thence
made their way to Greenland, having originally crossed from Siberia
into Alaska, thence eastward, skirting Hudson Bay.  This is entirely
feasible.  I heard of one _umiak_ (skin boat) only a few years ago
having crossed to Cape Chidley from Baffin Land.  Even in Labrador
there are many different dialects.  The "Northerners," the people
inhabiting the northwest arm of the peninsula, have many words that
the Koksoagmiut do not understand.  The intonation of the Ungava
Eskimos, particularly the women, is like a plaint.  At Okak they sing
their words.  Each settlement on the Atlantic coast has its own
dialect.  It is a difficult language to learn.  Words are compounded
until they reach a great and almost unpronounceable length.*
Naturally the coming of the trader has introduced many new words, as
tobaccomik, teamik, etc., "mik" being the accusative ending.  The
Eskimo in his language cannot count beyond ten.  If he wishes to
express twelve, for instance, he will say, "as many fingers as a man
has and two more."  To express one hundred he would say, "five times
as many fingers and toes as a man has," and so on.  It is not a
written language, but the Moravians have adapted the English alphabet
to it and are teaching the Eskimos to read and write.  Mr. Stewart in
his work has adapted the Cree syllabic characters to the Eskimo, and
he is teaching the Ungava people to write by this method, which is
largely phonetic.  Both the Moravians and Mr. Stewart are instructing
them in the mystery of counting in German.

*The following will illustrate this; it is part of a sentence quoted
from a Moravian missionary pamphlet: "Taimailinganiarpok, illagget
Labradormiut namgminek akkilejungnalerkartinaget pijariakartamingnik
tamainik, sakkertitsijungnalerkartinagillo ajokertnijunik."

** The Eskimo numerals are as follows: 1, attansek; 2, magguk; 3,
pingasut; 4, sittamat; 5, tellimat; 6, pingasoyortut; 7, aggartut; 8,
sittamauyortut; 9, sittamartut; 10, tellimauyortut.

Cleanliness is not one of the Eskimos' virtues, and they are
frequently infested with vermin, which are wont to transfer their
allegiance to visitors, as we learned in due course, to our
discomfiture.  For many months of the year the only water they have is
obtained by melting snow or ice.  In sections where there is no wood
for fuel this must be done over stone lamps in which seal oil is
burned, and it is so slow a process that the water thus procured is
held too precious to be wasted in cleansing body or clothing.  One of
the missionaries remarked that "the children must be very clean little
creatures, for the parents never find it necessary to wash them."

They treat the children with the greatest kindness and consideration--
not only their own, but all children, generally.  I did not once see
an Eskimo punish a child, nor hear a harsh word spoken to one, and
they are the most obedient youngsters in the world.  A missionary on
the Atlantic coast told me that once when he punished his child an
Eskimo standing near remarked: "You don't love you child or you
wouldn't punish it." And this is the sentiment they hold.

Love is not essential to a happy marriage among the Eskimos.  When a
man wants a woman he takes her.  In fact they believe that an
unwilling bride makes a good wife.  Potokomik's wife was most
unwilling, and he took her, dragging her by the tail of her adikey
from her father's igloo across the river on the ice to his own, and
they have "lived happily ever after," which seems to prove the
correctness of the Eskimo theory as to unwilling brides.  Of course if
Potokomik's wife had not liked him after a fair trial, she could have
left him, or if she had not come up to his expectations he could have
sent her back home and tried another.  It is all quite simple, for
there is no marriage ceremony and resort to South Dakota courts for
divorce is unnecessary.  If a man wants two wives, why he has them, if
there are women enough.  That, too, is a very agreeable arrangement,
for when he is away hunting the women keep each other company.  Small
families are the rule, and I did not hear of a case where twins had
ever been born to the Eskimos.

Dancing and football are among their chief pastimes.  The men enter
into the dance with zest, but the women as though they were performing
some awful penance.  Both sexes play football.  They have learned the
use of cards and are reckless gamblers, sometimes staking even the
garments on their backs in play.

The Eskimo is a close bargainer, and after he has agreed to do you a
service for a consideration will as likely as not change his mind at
the last moment and leave you in the lurch.  At the same time he is in
many respects a child.

The dwellings are of three kinds: The _tupek_--skin tent; _igloowiuk_--
snow house; and permanent igloo, built of driftwood, stones and turf--
the larger ones are _igloosoaks_.

Flesh and fish, as is the case with the Indians, form the principal
food, but while the Indians cook everything the Eskimos as often eat
their meat and fish raw, and are not too particular as to its age or
state of decay.  They are very fond of venison and seal meat, and for
variety's sake welcome dog meat.  A few years ago a disease carried
off several of the dogs at Fort Chimo and every carcass was eaten.
One old fellow, in fact, as Mathewson related to me, ate nothing else
during that time, and when the epidemic was over bemoaned the fact
that no more dog meat could be had.

On the Atlantic coast where the snow houses are not used and the
Eskimos live more generally during the winter in the close, vile
igloos, there is more or less tubercular trouble.  Even farther south,
where the natives have learned cleanliness, and live in comfortable
log cabins that are fairly well aired, this is the prevailing disease.
After leaving Ramah, the farther south you go the more general is the
adoption of civilized customs, food and habits of life, and with the
increase of civilization so also comes an increased death rate amongst
the Eskimos.  Formerly there was a considerable number of these people
on the Straits of Belle Isle.  Now there is not one there.  South of
Hamilton Inlet but two full-blood Eskimos remain.  Below Ramah the
deaths exceed the births, and at one settlement alone there are fifty
less people to-day than three years ago.

Civilization is responsible for this.  At the present time there
remains on the Atlantic coast, between the Straits of Belle Isle and
Cape Chidley, but eleven hundred and twenty-seven full-blood Eskimos.
Five years hence there will not be a thousand.  In Ungava district,
where they have as yet accepted practically nothing of civilization,
the births exceed the deaths, and I did not learn of a single well-
authenticated case of tuberculosis while I was there.  There were a
few cases of rheumatism.  Death comes early, however, owing to the
life of constant hardship and exposure.  Usually they do not exceed
sixty or sixty-five years of age, though I saw one man that had
rounded his three score years and ten.

Formerly they encased their dead in skins and lay them out upon the
rocks with the clothing and things they had used in life.  Now rough
wooden boxes are provided by the traders.  The dogs in time break the
coffins open and pick the bones, which lie uncared for, to be bleached
by the frosts of winter and suns of summer.  Mr. Stewart has collected
and buried many of these bones, and is endeavoring now to have all
bodies buried.

Of all the missionaries that I met in this bleak northern land,
devoted as every one of them is to his life work, none was more
devoted and none was doing a more self-sacrificing work than the Rev.
Samuel Milliken Stewart of Fort Chimo.  His novitiate as a missionary
was begun in one of the little out-port fishing villages of
Newfoundland.  Finally he was transferred to that fearfully barren
stretch among the heathen Eskimos north of Nachvak.  Here he and his
Eskimo servant gathered together such loose driftwood as they could
find, and with this and stones and turf erected a single-roomed igloo.
It was a small affair, not over ten by twelve or fourteen feet in
size, and an imaginary line separated the missionary's quarters from
his servant's.  On his knees, in an old resting place for the dead,
with the bleaching bones of heathen Eskimos strewn over the rocks
about him, he consecrated his life efforts to the conversion of this
people to Christianity.  Then he went to work to accomplish this
purpose in a businesslike way.  He set himself the infinite task of
mastering the difficult language.  He lived their life with them,
visiting and sleeping with them in their filthy igloos--so filthy and
so filled with stench from the putrid meat and fish scraps that they
permit to lie about and decay that frequently at first, until he
became accustomed to it, he was forced to seek the open air and
relieve the resulting nausea.  But Stewart is a man of iron will, and
he never wavered.  He studied his people, administered medicines to
the sick, and taught the doctrines of Christianity--Love, Faith and
Charity--at every opportunity.  That first winter was a trying one.
All his little stock of fuel was exhausted early.  The few articles of
furniture that be had brought with him he burned to help keep out the
frost demon, and before spring suffered greatly with the cold.  The
winter before our arrival he transferred his efforts to the Fort Chimo
district, where his field would be larger and he could reach a greater
number of the heathens.  During the journey to Fort Chimo, which was
across the upper peninsula, with dogs, he was lost in storms that
prevailed at the time, his provisions were exhausted, and one dog had
been killed to feed the others, before he finally met Eskimos who
guided him in safety to George River.  At Fort Chimo the Hudson's Bay
Company set aside two small buildings to his use, one for a chapel,
the other a little cabin in which he lives.  Here we found him one day
with a pot of high-smelling seal meat cooking for his dogs and a pan
of dough cakes frying for himself.  With Stewart in this cabin I spent
many delightful hours.  His constant flow of well-told stories,
flavored with native Irish wit, was a sure panacea for despondency.  I
believe Stewart, with his sunny temperament, is really enjoying his
life amongst the heathen, and he has made an obvious impression upon
them, for every one of them turns out to his chapel meetings, where
the services are conducted in Eskimo, and takes part with a will.

The Eskimo religion, like that of the Indian, is one of fear.
Numerous are the spirits that people the land and depths of the sea,
but the chief of them all is Torngak, the spirit of Death, who from
his cavern dwelling in the heights of the mighty Torngaeks (the
mountains north of the George River toward Cape Chidley) watches them
always and rules their fortunes with an iron hand, dealing out
misfortune, or withholding it, at his will.  It is only through the
medium of the Angakok, or conjurer, that the people can learn what to
do to keep Torngak and the lesser spirits of evil, with their varying
moods, in good humor.  Stewart has led some of the Eskimos to at least
outwardly renounce their heathenism and profess Christianity.  In a
few instances I believe they are sincere.  If he remains upon the
field, as I know he wishes to do, he will have them all professing
Christianity within the next few years, for they like him.  But he has
no more regard for danger, when he believes duty calls him, than Dr.
Grenfell has, and it is predicted on the coast that some day Dr.
Grenfell will take one chance too many with the elements.

Of course, coming among the Eskimos as we did in winter, we did not
see them using their kayaks or their umiaks,* but our experience with
dogs and komatik was pretty complete.  These dogs are big wolfish
creatures, which resemble wolves so closely in fact that when the dogs
and wolves are together the one can scarcely be told from the other.
It sometimes happens that a stray wolf will hobnob with the dogs, and
litters of half wolf, half dog have been born at the posts.

* A large open boat with wooden frame and sealskin covering.  The
women row the umiaks while the men sit idle.  It is beneath the
dignity of the latter to handle the oars when women are present to do
it.

There are no better Eskimo dogs to be found anywhere in the far north
than the husky dogs of Ungava.  Wonderful tales are told of long
distances covered by them in a single day, the record trip of which I
heard being one hundred and twelve miles.  But this was in the spring,
when the days were long and the snow hard and firm.  The farthest I
ever traveled myself in a single day with dogs and komatik was sixty
miles.  When the snow is loose and the days are short, twenty to
thirty miles constitute a day's work.

From five to twelve dogs are usually driven in one team, though
sometimes a man is seen plodding along with a two-dog team, and
occasionally as many as sixteen or eighteen are harnessed to a
komatik, but these very large teams are unwieldy.

The komatiks in the Ungava district vary from ten to eighteen feet in
length.  The runners are about two and one-half inches thick at the
bottom, tapering slightly toward the top to reduce friction where they
sink into the snow.  They are usually placed sixteen inches apart, and
crossbars extending about an inch over the outer runner on either side
are lashed across the runners by means of thongs of sealskin or heavy
twine, which is passed through holes bored into the crossbars and the
runners.  The use of lashings instead of nails or screws permits the
komatik to yield readily in passing over rough places, where metal
fastenings would be pulled out, or be snapped off by the frost.  On
either side of each end of the overlapping ends of the crossbars
notches are cut, around which sealskin thongs are passed in lashing on
the load.  The bottoms of the komatik runners are "mudded."  During
the summer the Eskimos store up turf for this purpose, testing bits of
it by chewing it to be sure that it contains no grit.  When the cold
weather comes the turf is mixed with warm water until it reaches the
consistency of mud.  Then with the hands it is molded over the bottom
of the runners.  The mud quickly freezes, after which it is carefully
planed smooth and round.  Then it is iced by applying warm water with
a bit of hairy deerskin.  These mudded runners slip very smoothly over
the soft snow, but are liable to chip off on rough ice or when they
strike rocks, as frequently happens, for the frozen mud is as brittle
as glass.  On the Atlantic coast from Nachvak south, mud is never
used, and there the komatiks are wider and shorter with runners of not
much more than half the thickness, and as you go south the komatiks
continue to grow wider and shorter.  In the south, too, hoop iron or
whalebone is used for runner shoeing.

A sealskin thong called a bridle, of a varying length of from twenty
to forty feet, is attached to the front of the komatik, and to the end
of this the dogs' traces are fastened.  Each dog has an individual
trace which may be from eight to thirty feet in length, depending upon
the size of the team, so arranged that not more than two dogs are
abreast, the "leader" having, of course, the longest trace of the
pack.  This long bridle and the long traces are made necessary by the
rough country.  They permit the animals to swerve well to one side
clear of the komatik when coasting down a hillside.  In the length of
bridle and trace there is also a wide variation in different sections,
those used in the south being very much shorter than those in the
north.  The dog harness is made usually of polar bear or sealskin.
There are no reins.  The driver controls his team by shouting
directions, and with a walrus hide whip, which is from twenty-five to
thirty-five feet in length.  An expert with this whip, running after
the dogs, can hit any dog he chooses at will, and sometimes he is
cruel to excess.

To start his team the driver calls "oo-isht," (in the south this
becomes "hoo-eet") to turn to the right "ouk," to the left "ra-der,
ra-der" and to stop "aw-aw." The leader responds to the shouted
directions and the pack follow.

The Ungava Eskimo never upon any account travels with komatik and dogs
without a snow knife.  With this implement he can in a little while
make himself a comfortable snow igloo, where he may spend the night or
wait for a storm to pass.

In winter it is practically impossible to buy a dog in Ungava.  The
people have only enough for their own use, and will not part with
them, and if they have plenty to eat it is difficult to employ them
for any purpose.  This I discovered very promptly when I endeavored to
induce some of them to take us a stage on our journey homeward.



CHAPTER XX

THE SLEDGE JOURNEY BEGUN

Tighter and tighter grew the grip of winter.  Rarely the temperature
rose above twenty-five degrees below zero, even at midday, and oftener
it crept well down into the thirties.  The air was filled with rime,
which clung to everything, and the sun, only venturing now a little
way above the southern horizon, shone cold and cheerless, weakly
penetrating the ever-present frost veil.  The tide, still defying the
shackles of the mighty power that had bound all the rest of the world,
surged up and down, piling ponderous ice cakes in mountainous heaps
along the river banks.  Occasionally an Eskimo or two would suddenly
appear out of the snow fields, remain for a day perhaps, and then as
suddenly disappear into the bleak wastes whence he had come.

Slowly the days dragged along.  We occupied the short hours of light
in reading old newspapers and magazines, or walking out over the
hills, and in the evenings called upon the Post officers or
entertained them in our cabin, where Mathewson often came to smoke his
after-supper pipe and relate to us stories of his forty-odd years'
service as a fur trader in the northern wilderness.

One bitter cold morning, long before the first light of day began to
filter through the rimy atmosphere, we heard the crunch of feet pass
our door, and a komatik slipped by.  It was Dr. Milne, away to George
River and the coast on his tour of Post inspection, and our little
group of white men was one less in number.

We envied him his early leaving.  We could not ourselves start for
home until after New Year's, for there were no dogs to be had for love
or money until the Eskimos came in from their hunting camps to spend
the holidays.  Everything, however, was made ready for that longed-for
time.  Through the kindness of The'venet, who put his Post folk to
work for us, the deerskins I had brought from Whale River were dressed
and made up into sleeping bags and skin clothing, and other neces-
saries were got ready for the long dog journey out.

Christmas eve came finally, and with it komatik loads of Eskimos, who
roused the place from its repose into comparative wakefulness.  The
newcomers called upon us in twos or threes, never troubling to knock
before they entered our cabin, looked us and our things over with much
interest, a proceeding which occupied usually a full half hour, then
went away, sometimes to bring back newly arriving friends, to
introduce them.  A multitude of dogs skulked around by day and made
night hideous with howling and fighting, and it was hardly safe to
walk abroad without a stick, of which they have a wholesome fear, as,
like their progenitors, the wolves, they are great cowards and will
rarely attack a man when he has any visible means of defense at hand.

Christmas afternoon was given over to shooting matches, and the
evening to dancing.  We spent the day with The'venet.  Mathewson was
not in position to entertain, as the Indian woman that presided in his
kitchen partook so freely of liquor of her own manufacture that she
became hilariously drunk early in the morning, and for the peace of
the household and safety of the dishes, which she playfully shied at
whoever came within reach, she was ejected, and Mathewson prepared his
own meals.  At The'venet's, however, everything went smoothly, and the
sumptuous meal of baked whitefish, venison, with canned vegetables,
plum pudding, cheese and coffee--delicacies held in reserve for the
occasion--made us forget the bleak wilderness and ice-bound land in
which we were.

It seemed for a time even now as though we should not be able to
secure dogs and drivers.  No one knew the way to Ramah, and on no
account would one of these Eskimos undertake even a part of the
journey without permission from the Hudson's Bay Company.  As a last
resort The'venet promised me his dogs and driver to take us at least
as far as George River, but finally Emuk arrived and an arrangement
was made with him to carry us from Whale River to George River, and
two other Eskimos agreed to go with us to Whale River.  The great
problem that confronted me now was how to get over the one hundred and
sixty miles of barrens from George River to Ramah, and it was
necessary to arrange for this before leaving Fort Chimo, as dogs to
the eastward were even scarcer than here.  Mathewson finally solved it
for me with his promise to instruct Ford at George River to put his
team and drivers at my disposal.  Thus, after much bickering, our
relays were arranged as far as the Moravian mission station at Ramah,
and I trusted in Providence and the coast Eskimos to see us on from
there.  The third of January was fixed as the day of our departure.

Our going in winter was an event.  It gave the Post folk an
opportunity to send out a winter mail, which I volunteered to carry to
Quebec.

Straggling bands of Indians, hauling fur-laden toboggans, began to
arrive during the week, and the bartering in the stores was brisk, and
to me exceedingly interesting.  Money at Fort Chimo is unknown.
Values are reckoned in "skins"--that is, a "skin" is the unit of
value.  There is no token of exchange to represent this unit, however,
and if a hunter brings in more pelts than sufficient to pay for his
purchases, the trader simply gives him credit on his books for the
balance due, to be drawn upon at some future time.  As a matter of
fact, the hunter is almost invariably in debt to the store.  A "skin"
will buy a pint of molasses, a quarter pound of tea or a quarter pound
of black stick tobacco.  A white arctic fox pelt is valued at seven
skins, a blue fox pelt at twelve, and a black or silver fox at eighty
to ninety skins.  South of Hamilton Inlet, where competition is keen
with the fur traders, they pay in cash six dollars for white, eight
dollars for blue (which, by the way, are very scarce there) and not
infrequently as high as three hundred and fifty dollars or even more
for black and silver fox pelts.  The cost of maintaining posts at Fort
Chimo, however, is somewhat greater than at these southern points.

Here at Ungava the Eskimos' hunt is confined almost wholly to foxes,
polar bears, an occasional wolf and wolverine, and, of course, during
the season, seals, walrus, and white whales.  An average hunter will
trap from sixty to seventy foxes in a season, though one or two
exceptional ones I knew have captured as many as two hundred.  The
Indians, who penetrate far into the interior, bring out marten, mink
and otter principally, with a few foxes, an occasional beaver, black
bear, lynx and some wolf and wolverine skins.  There is a story of a
very large and ferocious brown bear that tradition says inhabits the
barrens to the eastward toward George River.  Mr. Peter McKenzie told
me that many years ago, when he was stationed at Fort Chimo, the
Indians brought him one of the skins of this animal, and Ford at
George River said that, some twenty years since, he saw a piece of one
of the skins.  Both agreed that the hair was very long, light brown in
color, silver tipped and of a decidedly different species from either
the polar or black bear.  This is the only definite information as to
it that I was able to gather.  The Indians speak of it with dread, and
insist that it is still to be found, though none of them can say
positively that he has seen one in a decade.  I am inclined to believe
that the brown bear, so far as Labrador is concerned, has been
exterminated.

New Year's is the great day at Fort Chimo.  All morning there were
shooting matches and foot races, and in the afternoon football games
in progress, in which the Eskimo men and women alike joined.  The
Indians, who were recovering from an all-night drunk on their vile
beer, and a revel in the "Queen's" cabin, condescended to take part in
the shooting matches, but held majestically aloof from the other
games.  Some of them came into the French store in the evening to
squat around the room and watch the dancing while they puffed in
silence on their pipes and drank tea when it was passed.  That was
their only show of interest in the festivities.  Early on the morning
of the second they all disappeared.  But these were only a fragment of
those that visit the Post in summer.  It is then that they have their
powwow.

At last the day of our departure arrived, with a dull leaden sky and
that penetrating cold that eats to one's very marrow.  The'venet and
Belfleur came early and brought us a box of cigars to ease the tedium
of the long evenings in the snow houses.  All the little colony of
white men were on hand to see us off, and I believe were genuinely
sorry to have us go, for we had become a part of the little coterie
and our coming had made a break in the lives of these lonely exiles.
Men brought together under such conditions become very much attached
to each other in a short time.  "It's going to be lonesome now," said
Stewart.  "I'm sorry you have to leave us.  May God speed you on your
way, and carry you through your long journey in safety."

Finally our baggage was lashed on the komatik; the dogs, leaping and
straining at their traces, howled their eagerness to be gone; we shook
hands warmly with everybody, even the Eskimos, who came forward won-
dering at what seemed to them our stupendous undertaking, the komatik
was "broken" loose, and we were away at a gallop.

Traveling was good, and the nine dogs made such excellent time that we
had to ride in level places or we could not have kept pace with them.
When there was a hill to climb we pushed on the komatik or hauled with
the dogs on the long bridle to help them along.  When we had a descent
to make, the drag--a hoop of walrus hide--was thrown over the front
end of one of the komatik runners at the top, and if the place was
steep the Eskimos, one on either side of the komatik, would cling on
with their arms and brace their feet into the snow ahead, doing their
utmost to hold back and reduce the momentum of the heavy sledge.  To
the uninitiated they would appear to be in imminent danger of having
their legs broken, for the speed down some of the grades when the
crust was hard and icy was terrific.  When descending the gentler
slopes we all rode, depending upon the drag alone to keep our speed
within reason.  This coasting down hill was always an exciting experi-
ence, and where the going was rough it was not easy to keep a seat on
the narrow komatik.  Occasionally the komatik would turn over.  When
we saw this was likely to happen we discreetly dropped off, a feat
that demanded agility and practice to be performed successfully and
gracefully.

It was a relief beyond measure to feel that we were at length, after
seven long months, actually headed toward home and civilization.
Words cannot express the feeling of exhilaration that comes to one at
such a time.

We did not have to go so far up Whale River to find a crossing as on
our trip to Fort Chimo, and reached the eastern side before dark.
Sometimes the ice hills are piled so high here by the tide that it
takes a day or even two to cut a komatik path through them and cross
the river, but fortunately we had very little cutting to do. Not long
after dark we coasted down the hill above the Post, and the cheerful
lights of Edmunds' cabin were at hand.

Here we had to wait two days for Emuk, and in the interim Mrs. Edmunds
and Mary went carefully over our clothes, sewed sealskin legs to
deerskin moccasins, made more duffel socks, and with kind solicitation
put all our things into the best of shape and gave us extra moccasins
and mittens.  "It is well to have plenty of everything before you
start," said Mrs. Edmunds, "for if the huskies are hunting deer the
women will do no sewing on sealskin, and if they're hunting seals
they'll not touch a needle to your deerskins, though you are
freezing."

"Why is that?" I asked.

"Oh, some of their heathen beliefs," she answered.  "They think it
would bring bad luck to the hunters.  They believe all kinds of
foolishness."

Emuk had never been so far away as George River, and Sam Ford was to
be our pilot to that point, and to return with Emuk.  The Eskimos do
not consider it safe for a man to travel alone with dogs, and they
never do it when there is the least probability that they will have to
remain out over night.  Two men are always required to build a snow
igloo, which is one reason for this.  It was therefore necessary for
me at each point, when employing the Eskimo driver for a new stage of
our journey, also to engage a companion for him, that he might have
company when returning home.

Our coming to Whale River two months before had made a welcome
innovation in the even tenor of the cheerless, lonely existence of our
good friends at the Post--an event in their confined life, and they
were really sorry to part from us.

"It will be a long time before any one comes to see us again--a long
time," said Mrs. Edmunds, sadly adding: "I suppose no one will ever
come again."

When we said our farewells the women cried.  In their Godspeed the
note of friendship rang true and honest and sincere.  These people had
proved themselves in a hundred ways.  In civilization, where the
selfish instinct governs so generally, there are too many Judases.  On
the frontier, in spite of the rough exterior of the people, you find
real men and women.  That is one reason why I like the North so well.

We left Whale River on Saturday, the sixth of January, with one
hundred and twenty miles of barrens to cross before reaching George
River Post, the nearest human habitation to the eastward.  Our fresh
team of nine dogs was in splendid trim and worked well, but a three or
four inch covering of light snow upon the harder under crust made the
going hard and wearisome for the animals.  The frost flakes that
filled the air covered everything.  Clinging to the eyelashes and
faces of the men it gave them a ghostly appearance, our skin clothing
was white with it, long icicles weighted our beards, and the sharp
atmosphere made it necessary to grasp one's nose frequently to make
certain that the member was not freezing.

When we stopped for the night our snow house which Emuk and Sam soon
had ready seemed really cheerful.  Our halt was made purposely near a
cluster of small spruce where enough firewood was found to cook our
supper of boiled venison, hard-tack and tea, water being procured by
melting ice.  Spruce boughs were scattered upon the igloo floor and
deerskins spread over these.

After everything was made snug, and whatever the dogs might eat or
destroy put safely out of their reach, the animals were unharnessed
and fed the one meal that was allowed them each day after their work
was done.  Feeding the dogs was always an interesting function.  While
one man cut the frozen food into chunks, the rest of us armed with
cudgels beat back the animals.  When the word was given we stepped to
one side to avoid the onrush as they came upon the food, which was
bolted with little or no chewing.  They will eat anything that is fed
them--seal meat, deer's meat, fish, or even old hides.  There was
always a fight or two to settle after the feeding and then the dogs
made holes for themselves in the snow and lay down for the drift to
cover them.

The dogs fed, we crawled with our hot supper into the igloo, put a
block of snow against the entrance and stopped the chinks around it
with loose snow.  Then the kettle covers were lifted and the place was
filled at once with steam so thick that one could hardly see his elbow
neighbor.  By the time the meal was eaten the temperature had risen to
such a point that the place was quite warm and comfortable--so warm
that the snow in the top of the igloo was soft enough to pack but not
quite soft enough to drip water.  Then we smoked some of The'venet's
cigars and blessed him for his thoughtfulness in providing them.

Usually our snow igloos allowed each man from eighteen to twenty
inches space in which to lie down, and just room enough to stretch his
legs well.  With our sleeping bags they were entirely comfortable, no
matter what the weather outside.  The snow is porous enough to admit
of air circulation, but even a gale of wind without would not affect
the temperature within.  It is claimed by the natives that when the
wind blows, a snow house is warmer than in a period of still cold.  I
could see no difference.  A new snow igloo is, however, more
comfortable than one that has been used, for newly cut snow blocks are
more porous.  In one that has been used there is always a crust of ice
on the interior which prevents a proper circulation of air.

On the second day we passed the shack where Easton and I had held our
five-day fast, and shortly after came out upon the plains--a wide
stretch of flat, treeless country where no hills rise as guiding
landmarks for the voyageur.  This was beyond the zone of Emuk's
wanderings, and Sam went several miles astray in his calculations,
which, in view of the character of the country, was not to be wondered
at, piloting as he did without a compass.  However, we were soon set
right and passed again into the rolling barrens, with ever higher
hills with each eastern mile we traveled.

At two o'clock on the afternoon of Tuesday, January ninth, we dropped
over the bank upon the ice of George River just above the Post, and at
three o'clock were under Mr. Ford's hospitable roof again.

Here we had to encounter another vexatious delay of a week.  Ford's
dogs had been working hard and were in no condition to travel and not
an Eskimo team was there within reach of the Post that could be had.
There was nothing to do but wait for Ford's team to rest and get into
condition before taking them upon the trying journey across the barren
grounds that lay between us and the Atlantic.



CHAPTER XXI

CROSSING THE BARRENS

On Tuesday morning, January sixteenth, we swung out upon the river ice
with a powerful team of twelve dogs.  Will Ford and an Eskimo named
Etuksoak, called by the Post folk "Peter," for short, were our
drivers.

The dogs began the day with a misunderstanding amongst themselves, and
stopped to fight it out.  When they were finally beaten into docility
one of them, apparently the outcast of the pack, was limping on three
legs and leaving a trail of blood behind him.  Every team has its
bully, and sometimes its outcast.  The bully is master of them all.
He fights his way to his position of supremacy, and holds it by
punishing upon the slightest provocation, real or fancied, any
encroachment upon his autocratic prerogatives.  Likewise he dis-
ciplines the pack when he thinks they need it or when he feels like
it, and he is always the ringleader in mischief.  When there is an
outcast he is a doomed dog.  The others harass and fight him at every
opportunity.  They are pitiless.  They do not associate with him, and
sooner or later a morning will come when they are noticed licking
their chops contentedly, as dogs do when they have had a good meal--
and after that no more is seen of the outcast.  The bully is not
always, or, in fact, often the leader in harness.  The dog that the
driver finds most intelligent in following a trail and in answering
his commands is chosen for this important position, regardless of his
fighting prowess.

This morning as we started the weather was perfect--thirty-odd degrees
below zero and a bright sun that made the hoar frost sparkle like
flakes of silver.  For ten miles our course lay down the river to a
point just below the "Narrows."   Then we left the ice and hit the
overland trail in an almost due northerly direction.  It was a rough
country and there was much pulling and hauling and pushing to be done
crossing the hills.  Before noon the wind began to rise, and by the
time we stopped to prepare our snow igloo for the night a northwest
gale had developed and the air was filled with drifting snow.

Early in the afternoon I began to have cramps in the calves of my
legs, and finally it seemed to me that the muscles were tied into
knots.  Sharp, intense pains in the groin made it torture to lift in
feet above the level of the snow, and I was never more thankful for
rest in my life than when that day's work was finished.  Easton
confessed to me that he had an attack similar to my own.  This was the
result of our inactivity at Fort Chimo.  We were suffering with what
among the Canadian voyageurs is known as _mal de roquette_.  There was
nothing to do but endure it without complaint, for there is no relief
until in time it gradually passes away of its own accord.

This first night from George River was spent upon the shores of a lake
which, hidden by drifted snow, appeared to be about two miles wide and
seven or eight miles long.  It lay amongst low, barren hills, where a
few small bunches of gnarled black spruce relieved the otherwise
unbroken field of white.

The following morning it was snowing and drifting, and as the day grew
the storm increased.  An hour's traveling carried us to the Koroksoak
River--River of the Great Gulch--which flows from the northeast,
following the lower Torngaek mountains and emptying into Ungava Bay
near the mouth of the George.  The Koroksoak is apparently a shallow
stream, with a width of from fifty to two hundred yards.  Its bed
forms the chief part of the komatik route to Nachvak, and therefore
our route.  For several miles the banks are low and sandy, but farther
up the sand disappears and the hills crowd close upon the river.  The
gales that sweep down the valley with every storm had blown away the
snow and drifted the bank sand in a layer over the river ice.  This
made the going exceedingly hard and ground the mud from the komatik
runners.

The snowstorm, directly in our teeth, increased in force with every
mile we traveled, and with the continued cramps and pains in my legs
it seemed to me that the misery of it all was about as refined and
complete as it could be.  It may be imagined, therefore, the relief I
felt when at noon Will and Peter stopped the komatik with the
announcement that we must camp, as further progress could not be made
against the blinding snow and head wind.

Advantage was taken of the daylight hours to mend the komatik mud.
This was done by mixing caribou moss with water, applying the mixture
to the mud where most needed, and permitting it to freeze, which it
did instantly.  Then the surface was planed smooth with a little jack
plane carried for the purpose.

That night the storm blew itself out, and before daylight, after a
breakfast of coffee and hard-tack, we were off.  The half day's rest
had done wonders for me, and the pains in my legs were not nearly so
severe as on the previous day.

January and February see the lowest temperatures of the Labrador
winter.  Now the cold was bitter, rasping--so intensely cold was the
atmosphere that it was almost stifling as it entered the lungs.  The
vapor from our nostrils froze in masses of ice upon our beards.  The
dogs, straining in the harness, were white with hoar frost, and our
deerskin clothing was also thickly coated with it.  For long weeks
these were to be the prevailing conditions in our homeward march.

Dark and ominous were the spruce-lined river banks on either side that
morning as we toiled onward, and grim and repellent indeed were the
rocky hills outlined against the sky beyond.  Everything seemed frozen
stiff and dead except ourselves.  No sound broke the absolute silence
save the crunch, crunch, crunch of our feet, the squeak of the komatik
runners complaining as they slid reluctantly over the snow, and the
"oo-isht-oo-isht, oksuit, oksuit" of the drivers, constantly urging
the dogs to greater effort.  Shimmering frost flakes, suspended in the
air like a veil of thinnest gauze, half hid the sun when very timidly
he raised his head above the southeastern horizon, as though afraid to
venture into the domain of the indomitable ice king who had wrested
the world from his last summer's power and ruled it now so absolutely.

With every mile the spruce on the river banks became thinner and
thinner, and the hills grew higher and higher, until finally there was
scarcely a stick to be seen and the lower eminences had given way to
lofty mountains which raised their jagged, irregular peaks from two to
four thousand feet in solemn and majestic grandeur above our heads.
The gray basaltic rocks at their base shut in the tortuous river bed,
and we knew now why the Koroksoak was called the "River of the Great
Gulch."  These were the mighty Torngaeks, which farther north attain
an altitude above the sea of full seven thousand feet.  We passed the
place where Torngak dwells in his mountain cavern and sends forth his
decrees to the spirits of Storm and Starvation and Death to do
destruction, or restrains them, at his will.

In the forenoon of the third day after leaving George River we stopped
to lash a few sticks on top of our komatik load.  "No more wood," said
Will.  "This'll have to see us through to Nachvak."  That afternoon we
turned out of the Koroksoak River into a pass leading to the
northward, and that night's igloo was at the headwaters of a stream
that they said ran into Nachvak Bay.

The upper part of this new gulch was strewn with bowlders, and much
hard work and ingenuity were necessary the following morning to get
the komatik through them at all.  Farther down the stream widened.
Here the wind had swept the snow clear of the ice, and it was as
smooth as a piece of glass, broken only by an occasional bowlder
sticking above the surface.  A heavy wind blew in our backs and
carried the komatik before it at a terrific pace, with the dogs racing
to keep out of the way.  Sometimes we were carried sidewise, sometimes
stern first, but seldom right end foremost.  Lively work was necessary
to prevent being wrecked upon the rocks, and occasionally we did turn
over, when a bowlder was struck side on.

There were several steep down grades.  Before descending one of the
first of these a line was attached to the rear end of the komatik and
Will asked Easton to hang on to it and hold back, to keep the komatik
straight.  There was no foothold for him, however, on the smooth
surface of the ice, and Easton found that he could not hold back as
directed.  The momentum was considerable, and he was afraid to let go
for fear of losing his balance on the slippery ice, and so, wild-eyed
and erect, he slid along, clinging for dear life to the line.  Pretty
soon he managed to attain a sitting posture, and with his legs spread
before him, but still holding desperately on, he skimmed along after
the komatik.  The next and last evolution was a "belly-gutter"
position.  This became too strenuous for him, however, and the line
was jerked out of his hands.  I was afraid he might have been injured
on a rock, but my anxiety was soon relieved when I saw him running
along the shore to overtake the komatik where it had been stopped to
wait for him below.

This gulch was exceedingly narrow, with mountains, lofty, rugged and
grand rising directly from the stream's bank, some of them attaining
an altitude of five thousand feet or more.  At one point they squeezed
the brook through a pass only ten feet in width, with perpendicular
walls towering high above our heads on either side.  This place is
known to the Hudson's Bay Company people as "The Porch."

In the afternoon Peter caught his foot in a crevice, and the komatik
jammed him with such force that he narrowly escaped a broken leg and
was crippled for the rest of the journey.  Early in the afternoon we
were on salt water ice, and at two o'clock sighted Nachvak Post of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and at half past four were hospitably welcomed
by Mrs. Ford, the wife of George Ford, the agent.

This was Saturday, January twentieth.  Since the previous Tuesday
morning we had had no fire to warm ourselves by and had been living
chiefly on hard-tack, and the comfort and luxury of the Post sitting
room, with the hot supper of arctic hare that came in due course, were
appreciated.  Mr. Ford had gone south with Dr. Milne to Davis Inlet
Post and was not expected back for a week, but Mrs. Ford and her son
Solomon Ford, who was in charge during his father's absence, did
everything possible for our comfort.

The injury to Peter's leg made it out of the question for him to go on
with us, and we therefore found it necessary to engage another team to
carry us to Ramah, the first of the Moravian missionary stations on
our route of travel, and this required a day's delay at Nachvak, as no
Eskimos could be seen that night.  The Fords offered us every
assistance in securing drivers, and went to much trouble on our
behalf.  Solomon personally took it upon himself to find dogs and
drivers for us, and through his kindness arrangements were made with
two Eskimos, Taikrauk and Nikartok by name, who agreed to furnish a
team of ten dogs and be on hand early on Monday morning.  I considered
myself fortunate in securing so large a team, for the seal hunt had
been bad the previous fall and the Eskimos had therefore fallen short
of dog food and had killed a good many of their dogs.  I should not
have been so ready with my self-congratulation had I seen the dogs
that we were to have.

Nachvak is the most God-forsaken place for a trading post that I have
ever seen.  Wherever you look bare rocks and towering mountains stare
you in the face; nowhere is there a tree or shrub of any kind to
relieve the rock-bound desolation, and every bit of fuel has to be
brought in during the summer by steamer.  They have coal, but even the
wood to kindle the coal is imported.  The Eskimos necessarily use
stone lamps in which seal oil is burned to heat their igloos.  The
Fords have lived here for a quarter of a century, but now the Company
is abandoning the Post as unprofitable and they are to be transferred
to some other quarter.

"God knows how lonely it is sometimes," Mrs. Ford said to me, "and how
glad I'll be if we go where there's some one besides just greasy
heathen Eskimos to see."

The Moravian mission at Killenek, a station three days' travel to the
northward, on Cape Chidley, has deflected some of the former trade
from Nachvak and the Ramah station more of it, until but twenty-seven
Eskimos now remain at Nachvak.

Early on Monday morning not only our two Eskimos appeared, but the
entire Eskimo population, even the women with babies in their hoods,
to see us off.  The ten-dog team that I had congratulated myself so
proudly upon securing proved to be the most miserable aggregation of
dogskin and bones I had ever seen, and in so horribly emaciated a
condition that had there been any possible way of doing without them I
should have declined to permit them to haul our komatik.  However I
had no choice, as no other dogs were to be had, and at six o'clock--
more than two hours before daybreak--we said farewell to good Mrs.
Ford and her family and started forward with our caravan of followers.

We took what is known as the "outside" route, turning right out toward
the mouth of the bay.  By this route it is fully forty miles to Ramah.
By a short cut overland, which is not so level, the distance is only
about thirty miles, but our Eskimos chose the level course, as it is
doubtful whether their excuses for dogs could have hauled the komatik
over the hills on the short cut.  An hour after our start we passed a
collection of snow igloos, and all our following, after shaking hands
and repeating, "Okusi," left us--all but one man, Korganuk by name,
who decided to honor us with his society to Ramah; so we had three
Eskimos instead of the more than sufficient two.

Though the traveling was fairly good the poor starved dogs crawled
along so slowly that with a jog trot we easily kept in advance of
them, and not even the extreme cruelty of the heathen drivers, who
beat them sometimes unmercifully, could induce them to do better.  I
remonstrated with the human brutes on several occasions, but they
pretended not to understand me, smiling blandly in return, and making
unintelligible responses in Eskimo.

Before dawn the sky clouded, and by the time we reached the end of the
bay and turned southward across the neck, toward noon, it began to
snow heavily.  This capped the climax of our troubles and I questioned
whether our team would ever reach our destination with this added
impediment of soft, new snow to plow through.

From the first the snow fell thick and fast.  Then the wind rose, and
with every moment grew in velocity.  I soon realized that we were
caught under the worst possible conditions in the throes of a Labrador
winter storm--the kind of storm that has cost so many native travelers
on that bleak coast their lives.

We were now on the ice again beyond the neck.  Perpendicular,
clifflike walls shut us off from retreat to the land and there was not
a possibility of shelter anywhere.  Previous snows had found no
lodgment into banks, and an igloo could not be built.  Our throats
were parched with thirst, but there was no water to drink and nowhere
a stick of wood with which to build a fire to melt snow.  The dogs
were lying down in harness and crying with distress, and the Eskimos
had continually to kick them into renewed efforts.  On we trudged, on
and endlessly on.  We were still far from our goal.

All of us, even the Eskimos, were utterly weary.  Finally frequent
stops were necessary to rest the poor toiling brutes, and we were glad
to take advantage of each opportunity to throw ourselves at full
length on the snow-covered ice for a moment's repose.  Sometimes we
would walk ahead of the komatik and lie down until it overtook us,
frequently falling asleep in the brief interim.  Now and again an
Eskimo would look into my face and repeat, "Oksunae" (be strong), and
I would encourage him in the same way.

Darkness fell thick and black.  No signs of land were visible--nothing
but the whirling, driving, pitiless snow around us and the ice under
our feet.  Sometimes one of us would stumble on a hummock and fall,
then rise again to resume the mechanical plodding.  I wondered
sometimes whether we were not going right out to sea and how long it
would be before we should drop into open water and be swallowed up.
My faculties were too benumbed to care much, and it was just a
calculation in which I had no particular but only a passive interest.

The thirst of the snow fields is most agonizing, and can only be
likened to the thirst of the desert.  The snow around you is
tantalizing, for to eat it does not quench the thirst in the
slightest; it aggravates it.  If I ever longed for water it was then.

Hour after hour passed and the night seemed interminable.  But somehow
we kept going, and the poor crying brutes kept going.  All misery has
its ending, however, and ours ended when I least looked for it.  Un-
expectedly the dogs' pitiful cries changed to gleeful howls and they
visibly increased their efforts.  Then Korganuk put his face close to
mine and said: "Ramah!  Ramah!" and quite suddenly we stopped before
the big mission house at Ramah.



CHAPTER XXII

ON THE ATLANTIC ICE

The dogs had stopped within a dozen feet of the building, but it was
barely distinguishable through the thick clouds of smothering snow
which the wind, risen to a terrific gale, swirled around us as it
swept down in staggering gusts from the invisible hills above.  A
light filtered dimly through one of the frost-encrusted windows, and I
tapped loudly upon the glass.

At first there was no response, but after repeated rappings some one
moved within, and in a moment the door opened and a voice called to
us, "Come, come out of the snow.  It is a nasty night."  Without
further preliminaries we stepped into the shelter of the broad, com-
fortable hall.  Holding a candle above his head, and peering at us
through the dim light that it cast, was a short, stockily built,
bearded man in his shirt sleeves and wearing hairy sealskin trousers
and boots.  To him I introduced myself and Easton, and he, in turn,
told us that he was the Reverend Paul Schmidt, the missionary in
charge of the station.

Mr. Schmidt's astonishment at our unexpected appearance at midnight
and in such a storm was only equaled by his hospitable welcome.  His
broken English sounded sweet indeed, inviting us to throw off our
snow-covered garments.  He ushered us to a neat room on the floor
above, struck a match to a stove already charged with kindling wood
and coal, and in five minutes after our entrance we were listening to
the music of a crackling fire and warming our chilled selves by its
increasing heat.

Our host was most solicitous for our every comfort.  He hurried in and
out, and by the time we were thoroughly warmed told us supper was
ready and asked us to his living room below, where Mrs. Schmidt had
spread the table for a hot meal.  Each mission house has a common
kitchen and a common dining room, and besides having the use of these
the separate families are each provided with a private living room and
a sleeping room.

It is not pleasant to be routed out of bed in the middle of the night,
but these good missionaries assured us that it was really a pleasure
to them, and treated us like old friends whom they were overjoyed to
see.  "Well, well," said Mr. Schmidt, again and again, "it is very
good for you to come.  I am very glad that you came tonight, for now
we shall have company, and you shall stay with us until the weather is
fine again for traveling, and we will talk English together, which is
a pleasure for me, for I have almost forgotten my English, with no one
to talk it to."

It was after two o'clock when we went to bed, and I verily believe
that Mr. Schmidt would have talked all night had it not been for our
hard day's work and evident need of rest.

When we arose in the morning the storm was still blowing with unabated
fury.  We had breakfast with Mr. Schmidt in his private apartment and
were later introduced to Mr. Karl Filsehke, the storekeeper, and his
wife, who, like the Schmidts, were most hospitable and kind.  At all
of the Moravian missions, with the exception of Killinek "down to
Chidley," and Makkovik, the farthest station "up south," there is,
besides the missionary, who devotes himself more particularly to the
spiritual needs of his people, a storekeeper who looks after their
material welfare and assists in conducting the meetings.

In Labrador these missions are largely, though by no means wholly,
self-supporting.  Furs and blubber are taken from the Eskimos in
exchange for goods, and the proflts resulting from their sale in
Europe are applied toward the expense of maintaining the stations.
They own a small steamer, which brings the supplies from London every
summer and takes away the year's accumulation of fur and oil.  Since
the first permanent establishment was erected at Nain, over one
hundred and fifty years ago, they have followed this trade.

During the day I visited the store and blubber house, where Eskimo men
and women were engaged in cutting seal blubber into small slices and
pounding these with heavy wooden mallets.  The pounded blubber is
placed in zinc vats, and, when the summer comes, exposed in the vats
to the sun's heat, which renders out a fine white oil.  This oil is
put into casks and shipped to the trade.

In the depth of winter seal hunting is impossible, and during that
season the Eskimo families gather in huts, or igloosoaks, at the
mission stations.  There are sixty-nine of these people connected with
the Ramah station and I visited them all with Mr. Schmidt.  Their huts
were heated with stone lamps and seal oil, for the country is bare of
wood.  The fuel for the mission house is brought from the South by the
steamer.

The Eskimos at Ramah and at the stations south are all supposed to be
Christians, but naturally they still retain many of the traditional
beliefs and superstitions of their people.  They will not live in a
house where a death has occurred, believing that the spirit of the
departed will haunt the place.  If the building is worth it, they take
it down and set it up again somewhere else.

Not long ago the wife of one of the Eskimos was taken seriously ill,
and became delirious.  Her husband and his neighbors, deciding that
she was possessed of an evil spirit, tied her down and left her, until
finally she died, uncared for and alone, from cold and lack of
nourishment.  This occurred at a distance from the station, and the
missionaries did not learn of it until the woman was dead and beyond
their aid. They are most kind in their ministrations to the sick and
needy.

Once Dr. Grenfell visited Ramah and exhibited to the astonished
Eskimos some stereopticon views--photographs that he had taken there
in a previous year.  It so happened that one of the pictures was that
of an old woman who had died since the photograph was made, and when
it appeared upon the screen terror struck the hearts of the simple-
minded people.  They believed it was her spirit returned to earth, and
for a long time afterward imagined that they saw it floating about at
night, visiting the woman's old haunts.

The daily routine of the mission station is most methodical.  At seven
o'clock in the morning a bell calls the servants to their duties; at
nine o'clock it rings again, granting a half hour's rest; at a quarter
to twelve a third ringing sends them to dinner; they return at one
o'clock to work until dark.  Every night at five o'clock the bell
summons them to religious service in the chapel, where worship is
conducted in Eskimo by either the missionary or the storekeeper.  The
women sit on one side, the men on the other, and are always in their
seats before the last tone of the bell dies out.  I used to enjoy
these services exceedingly--watching the eager, expectant faces of the
people as they heard the lesson taught, and their hearty singing of
the hymns in Eskimo made the evening hour a most interesting one to
me.

It is a busy life the missionary leads.  From morning until night he
is kept constantly at work, and in the night his rest is often broken
by calls to minister to the sick.  He is the father of his flock, and
his people never hesitate to call for his help and advice; to him all
their troubles and disagreements are referred for a wise adjustment.

I am free to say that previous to meeting them upon their field of
labor I looked upon the work of these missionaries with indifference,
if not disfavor, for I had been led to believe that they were
accomplishing little or nothing.  But now I have seen, and I know of
what incalculable value the services are that they are rendering to
the poor, benighted people of this coast.

They practically renounce the world and their home ties to spend their
lives, until they are too old for further service or their health
breaks down, in their Heaven-inspired calling, surrounded by people of
a different race and language, in the most barren, God-cursed land in
the world.

When their children reach the age of seven years they must send them
to the church school at home to be educated.  Very often parent and
child never meet again.  This is, as many of them told me, the
greatest sacrifice they are called upon to make, but they realize that
it is for the best good of the child and their work, and they do not
murmur.  What heroes and heroines these men and women are!  One _must_
admire and honor them.

There were some little ones here at Ramah who used to climb upon my
knees and call me "Uncle," and kiss me good morning and good night,
and I learned to love them.  My recollections of these days at Ramah
are pleasant ones.

Philippus Inglavina and Ludwig Alasua, two Eskimos, were engaged to
hold themselves in readiness with their team of twelve dogs for a
bright and early start for Hebron on the first clear morning.  On the
fourth morning after our arrival they announced that the weather was
sufficiently clear for them to find their way over the hills.  Mrs.
Schmidt and Mrs. Filsehke filled an earthen jug with hot coffee and
wrapped it, with some sandwiches, in a bearskin to keep from freezing
for a few hours; sufficient wood to boil the kettle that night and the
next morning was lashed with our baggage on the komatik; the Eskimos
each received the daily ration of a plug of tobacco and a box of
matches, which they demand when traveling, and then we said good-by
and started.  The komatik was loaded with Eskimos, and the rest of the
native population trailed after us on foot.  It is the custom on the
coast for the people to accompany a komatik starting on a journey for
some distance from the station.

The wind, which had died nearly out in the night, was rising again.
It was directly in our teeth and shifting the loose snow unpleasantly.
We had not gone far when one of the trailing Eskimos came running
after us and shouting to our driver to stop.  We halted, and when he
overtook us he called the attention of Philippus to a high mountain
known as Attanuek (the King), whose peak was nearly hidden by drifting
snow.  A consultation decided them that it would be dangerous to
attempt the passes that day, and to our chagrin the Eskimos turned the
dogs back to the station.

The next morning Attanuek's head was clear, the wind was light, the
atmosphere bitter cold, and we were off in good season.  We soon
reached "Lamson's Hill," rising three thousand feet across our path,
and shortly after daylight began the wearisome ascent, helping the
dogs haul the komatik up steep places and wallowing through deep snow
banks.  Before noon one of our dogs gave out, and we had to cut him
loose.  An hour later we met George Ford on his way home to Nachvak
from Davis Inlet, and some Eskimos with a team from the Hebron
Mission, and from this latter team we borrowed a dog to take the place
of the one that we had lost.  Ford told us that his leader had gone
mad that morning and he had been compelled to shoot it.  He also in-
formed me that wolves had followed him all the way from Okak to
Hebron, mingling with his dogs at night, but at Hebron had left his
trail.

At three o'clock we reached the summit of Lamson's Hill and began the
perilous descent, where only the most expert maneuvering on the part
of the Eskimos saved our komatik from being smashed.  In many places
we had to let the sledge down over steep places, after first removing
the dogs, and it was a good while after dark when we reached the
bottom.  Then, after working the komatik over a mile of rough bowlders
from which the wind had swept the snow, we at length came upon the sea
ice of Saglak Bay, and at eight o'clock drew up at an igloosoak on an
island several miles from the mainland.

This igloosoak was practically an underground dwelling, and the
entrance was through a snow tunnel.  From a single seal-gut window a
dim light shone, but there was no other sign of human life.  I groped
my way into the tunnel, bent half double, stepping upon and stumbling
over numerous dogs that blocked the way, and at the farther end bumped
into a door.  Upon pushing this open I found myself in a room perhaps
twelve by fourteen feet in size.  Three stone lamps shed a gloomy half
light over the place, and revealed a low bunk, covered with sealskins,
extending along two sides of the room, upon which nine Eskimos--men,
women and children--were lying.  A half inch of soft slush covered the
floor.  The whole place was reeking in filth, infested with vermin,
and the stench was sickening.

The people arose and welcomed us as Eskimos always do, most cordially.
Our two drivers, who followed me with the wood we had brought, made a
fire in a small sheet-iron tent stove kept in the shack by the
missionaries for their use when traveling, and on it we placed our
kettle full of ice for tea, and our sandwiches to thaw, for they were
frozen as hard as bullets.  One of the old women was half dead with
consumption, and constantly spitting, and when we saw her turning our
sandwiches on the stove our appetite appreciably diminished.

At Ramah I had purchased some dried caplin for dog food for the night.
The caplin is a small fish, about the size of a smelt or a little
larger, and is caught in the  neighborhood of Hamilton Inlet and
south.  They are brought north by the missionaries to use for dog food
when traveling in the winter, as they are more easily packed on the
komatik than seal meat.  The Eskimos are exceedingly fond of these
dried fish, and they appealed to our men as too great a delicacy to
waste upon the dogs.  Therefore when feeding time came, seal blubber,
of which there was an abundant supply in the igloo, fell to the lot of
the animals, while our drivers and hosts appropriated the caplin to
themselves.  The bag of fish was placed in the center, with a dish of
raw seal fat alongside, with the men, women and children surrounding
it, and they were still banqueting upon the fish and fat when I, weary
with traveling, fell asleep in my bag.

It was not yet dark the next evening when we came in sight of the
Eskimo village at the Hebron mission, and the whole population of one
hundred and eighty people and two hundred dogs, the former shouting,
the latter howling, turned out to greet us.  Several of the young men,
fleeter of foot than the others, ran out on the ice, and when they had
come near enough to see who we were, turned and ran back again ahead
of our dogs, shouting "Kablunot!  Kablunot!" (outlanders), and so, in
the midst of pandemonium, we drew into the station, and received from
the missionaries a most cordial welcome.

Here I was fortunate in securing for the next eighty miles of our
journey an Eskimo with an exceptionally fine team of fourteen dogs.
This new driver--Cornelius was his name--made my heart glad by
consenting to travel without an attendant.  I was pleased at this be-
cause experience had taught me that each additional man meant just so
much slower progress.

No time was lost at Hebron, for the weather was fine, and early
morning found us on our way.  At Napartok we reached the "first wood,"
and the sight of a grove of green spruce tops above the snow seemed
almost like a glimpse of home.

It was dreary, tiresome work, this daily plodding southward over the
endless snow, sometimes upon the wide ice field, sometimes crossing
necks of land with tedious ascents and dangerous descents of hills,
making no halt while daylight lasted, save to clear the dogs'
entangled traces and snatch a piece of hard-tack for a cheerless
luncheon.

Okak, two days' travel south of Hebron, with a population of three
hundred and twenty-nine, is the largest Eskimo village in Labrador and
an important station of the Moravian missionaries.  Besides the
chapel, living apartments and store of the mission a neat, well-
organized little hospital has just been opened by them and placed in
charge of Dr. S. Hutton, an English physician.  Young, capable and
with every prospect of success at home, he and his charming wife have
resigned all to come to the dreary Labrador and give their lives and
efforts to the uplifting of this bit of benighted humanity.

We were entertained by the doctor and Mrs. Hutton and found them most
delightful people.  The only other member of the hospital corps was
Miss S. Francis, a young woman who has prepared herself as a trained
nurse to give her life to the service.  I had an opportunity to visit
with Dr. Hutton several of the Eskimo dwellings, and was struck by
their cleanliness and the great advance toward civilization these
people have made over their northern kinsmen.  We had now reached a
section where timber grows, and some of the houses were quite
pretentious for the frontier--well furnished, of two or three rooms,
and far superior to many of the homes of the outer coast breeds to the
south.  This, of course, is the visible result of the century of
Moravian labors.  Here I engaged, with the aid of the missionaries,
Paulus Avalar and Boas Anton with twelve dogs to go with us to Nain,
and after one day at Okak our march was resumed.

It is a hundred miles from Okak to Nain and on the way the Kiglapait
Mountain must be crossed, as the Atlantic ice outside is liable to be
shattered at any time should an easterly gale blow, and there is no
possible retreat and no opportunity to escape should one be caught
upon it at such a time, as perpendicular cliffs rise sheer from the
sea ice here.

We had not reached the summit of the Kiglapait when night drove us
into camp in a snow igloo.  The Eskimos here are losing the art of
snow-house building, and this one was very poorly constructed, and,
with a temperature of thirty or forty degrees below zero, very cold
and uncomfortable.

When we turned into our sleeping bags Paulus, who could talk a few
words of English, remarked to me: "Clouds say big snow maybe.  Here
very bad.  No dog feed.  We go early," and pointing to my watch face
indicated that we should start at midnight.  At eleven o'clock I heard
him and Boas get up and go out.  Half an hour later they came back
with a kettle of hot tea and we had breakfast.  Then the two Eskimos,
by candlelight read aloud in their language a form of worship and sang
a hymn.  All along the coast between Hebron and Makkovik I found
morning and evening worship and grace before and after meals a regular
institution with the Eskimos, whose religious training is carefully
looked after by the Moravians.

By midnight our komatik was packed.  "Ooisht! ooisht!" started the
dogs forward as the first feathery flakes of the threatened storm fell
lazily down.  Not a breath of wind was stirring and no sound broke the
ominous silence of the night save the crunch of our feet on the snow
and the voice of the driver urging on the dogs.

Boas went ahead, leading the team on the trail.  Presently he halted
and shouted back that he could not make out the landmarks in the now
thickening snow.  Then we circled about until an old track was found
and went on again.  Time and again this maneuver was repeated.  The
snow now began to fall heavily and the wind rose.

No further sign of the track could be discovered and short halts were
made while Paulus examined my compass to get his bearings.

Finally the summit of the Kiglapait was reached, and the descent was
more rapid.  At one place on a sharp down grade the dogs started on a
run and we jumped upon the komatik to ride.  Moving at a rapid pace
the team, dimly visible ahead, suddenly disappeared.  Paulus rolled
off the komatik to avoid going over the ledge ahead, but the rest of
us had no time to jump, and a moment later the bottom fell out of our
track and we felt ourselves dropping through space.  It was a fall of
only fifteen feet, but in the night it seemed a hundred.  Fortunately
we landed on soft snow and no harm was done, but we had a good shaking
up.

The storm grew in force with the coming of daylight.  Forging on
through the driving snow we reached the ocean ice early in the
forenoon and at four o'clock in the afternoon the shelter of an Eskimo
hut.

The storm was so severe the next morning our Eskimos said to venture
out in it would probably mean to get lost, but before noon the wind so
far abated that we started.

The snow fell thickly all day, the wind began to rise again, and a
little after four o'clock the real force of the gale struck us in one
continued, terrific sweep, and the snow blew so thick that we nearly
smothered.  The temperature was thirty degrees below zero.  We could
not see the length of the komatik.  We did not dare let go of it, for
had we separated ourselves a half dozen yards we should certainly have
been lost.

Somehow the instincts of drivers and dogs, guided by the hand of a
good Providence, led us to the mission house at Nain, which we reached
at five o'clock and were overwhelmed by the kindness of the Moravians.
This is the Moravian headquarters in Labrador, and the Bishop, Right
Reverend A. Martin, with his aids, is in charge.

It was Saturday night when we reached Nain, and Sunday was spent here
while we secured new drivers and dogs and waited for the storm to blow
over.

Every one was so cordial and hospitable that I almost regretted the
necessity of leaving on Monday morning.  The day was excessively cold
and a head wind froze cheeks and noses and required an almost constant
application of the hand to thaw them out and prevent them from
freezing permanently.  Easton even frosted his elbow through his heavy
clothing of reindeer skin.

During the second day from Nain we met Missionary Christian Schmitt
returning from a visit to the natives farther south, and on the ice
had a half hour's chat.

That evening we reached Davis Inlet Post of the Hudson's Bay Company,
and spent the night with Mr. Guy, the agent, and the following morning
headed southward again, passed Cape Harrigan, and in another two days
reached Hopedale Mission, where we arrived just ahead of one of the
fierce storms* so frequent here at this season of the year, which held
us prisoners from Thursday night until Monday morning.  Two days later
we pulled in at Makkovik, the last station of the Moravians on our
southern trail.

* Since writing the above I have learned that a half-breed whom I met
at Davis Inlet, his wife and a young native left that point for Hope-
dale just after us, were overtaken by this storm, lost their way, and
were probably overcome by the elements.  Their dogs ate the bodies and
a week later returned, well fed, to Davis Inlet.  Dr. Grenfell found
the bones in the spring.



CHAPTER XXIII

BACK TO NORTHWEST RIVER

We had now reached an English-speaking country; that is, a section
where every one talked understandable English, though at the same time
nearly every one was conversant with the Eskimo language.

All down the coast we had been fortunate in securing dogs and drivers
with little trouble through the intervention of the missionaries; but
at Makkovik dogs were scarce, and it seemed for a time as though we
were stranded here, but finally, with missionary Townley's aid I
engaged an old Eskimo named Martin Tuktusini to go with us to Rigolet.
When I looked at Martin's dogs, however, I saw at once that they were
not equal to the journey, unaided.  Neither had I much faith in
Martin, for he was an old man who had nearly reached the end of his
usefulness.

A day was lost in vainly looking around for additional dogs, and then
Mr. Townley generously loaned us his team and driver to help us on to
Big Bight, fifteen miles away, where he thought we might get dogs to
supplement Martin's.

At Big Bight we found a miserable hut, where the people were
indescribably poor and dirty.  A team was engaged after some delay to
carry us to Tishialuk, thirty miles farther on our journey, which
place we reached the following day at eleven o'clock.

There is a single hovel at Tishialuk, occupied by two brothers--John
and Sam Cove--and their sister.  Their only food was flour, and a
limited quantity of that.  Even tea and molasses, usually found
amongst the "livyeres" (live-heres) of the coast, were lacking.  Sam
was only too glad of the opportunity to earn a few dollars, and was
engaged with his team to join forces with Martin as far as Rigolet.

There are two routes from Tishialuk to Rigolet.  One is the "Big Neck"
route over the hills, and much shorter than the other, which is known
as the outside route, though it also crosses a wide neck of land
inside of Cape Harrison, ending at Pottle's Bay on Hamilton Inlet.  It
was my intention to take the Big Neck trail, but Martin strenuously
opposed it on the ground that it passed over high hills, was much more
difficult, and the probabilities of getting lost should a storm occur
were much greater by that route than by the other.  His objections
prevailed, and upon the afternoon of the day after our arrival Sam was
ready, and in a gale of wind we ran down on the ice to Tom Bromfield's
cabin at Tilt Cove, that we might be ready to make an early start for
Pottle's Bay the following morning, as the whole day would be needed
to cross the neck of land to Pottle's Bay and the neatest shelter
beyond.

Tom is a prosperous and ambitious hunter, and is fairly well-to-do as
it goes on the Labrador.  His one-room cabin was very comfortable, and
he treated us to unwonted luxuries, such as butter, marmalade, and
sugar for our tea.

During the evening he displayed to me the skin of a large wolf which
he had killed a few days before, and told us the story of the killing.

"I were away, sir," related he, "wi' th' dogs, savin' one which I
leaves to home, 'tendin' my fox traps.  The woman (meaning his wife)
were alone wi' the young ones.  In the evenin' (afternoon) her hears a
fightin' of dogs outside, an' thinkin' one of the team was broke loose
an' run home, she starts to go out to beat the beasts an' put a stop
to the fightin'.  But lookin' out first before she goes, what does she
see but the wolf that owned that skin, and right handy to the door he
were, too.  He were a big divil, as you sees, sir.  She were scared.
Her tries to take down the rifle--the one as is there on the pegs,
sir.  The wolf and the dog be now fightin' agin' the door, and she
thinks they's handy to breakin' in, and it makes her a bit shaky in
the hands, and she makes a slip and the rifle he goes off bang! makin'
that hole there marrin' the timber above the windy.  Then the wolf he
goes off too; he be scared at the shootin'.  When I comes home she
tells me, and I lays fur the beast.  'Twere the next day and I were in
the house when I hears the dogs fightin' and I peers out the windy,
and there I sees the wolf fightin' wi' the dogs, quite handy by the
house.  Well, sir, I just gits the rifle down and goes out, and when
the dogs sees me they runs and leaves the wolf, and I up and knocks he
over wi' a bullet, and there's his skin, worth a good four dollars,
for he be an extra fine one, sir."

We sat up late that night listening to Tom's stories.

The next morning was leaden gray, and promised snow.  With the hope of
reaching Pottle's Bay before dark we started forward early, and at one
o'clock in the afternoon were in the soft snow of the spruce-covered
neck.  Traveling was very bad and progress so slow that darkness found
us still amongst the scrubby firs.  Martin and I walked ahead of the
dogs, making a path and cutting away the growth where it was too thick
to permit the passage of the teams.

Martin was guiding us by so circuitous a path that finally I began to
suspect he had lost his way, and, calling a halt, suggested that we
had better make a shelter and stop until daylight, particularly as the
snow was now falling.  When you are lost in the bush it is a good rule
to stop where you are until you make certain of your course.  Martin
in this instance, however, seemed very positive that we were going in
the right direction, though off the usual trail, and he said that in
another hour or so we would certainly come out and find the salt-water
ice of Hamilton Inlet.  So after an argument I agreed to proceed and
trust in his assurances.

Easton, who was driving the rear team, was completely tired out with
the exertion of steering the komatik through the brush and untangling
the dogs, which seemed to take a delight in spreading out and getting
their traces fast around the numerous small trees, and I went to the
rear to relieve him for a time from the exhausting work.

It was nearly two o'clock in the morning when we at length came upon
the ice of a brook which Martin admitted he had never seen before and
confessed that he was completely lost.  I ordered a halt at once until
daylight.  We drank some cold water, ate some hard-tack and then
stretched our sleeping bags upon the snow and, all of us weary, lay
down to let the drift cover us while we slept.

At dawn we were up, and with a bit of jerked venison in my hand to
serve for breakfast, I left the others to lash the load on the
komatiks and follow me and started on ahead.  I had walked but half a
mile when I came upon the rough hummocks of the Inlet ice.  Before
noon we found shelter from the now heavily driving snowstorm in a
livyere's hut and here remained until the following morning.

Just beyond this point, in crossing a neck of land, we came upon a
small hut and, as is usual on the Labrador, stopped for a moment.  The
people of the coast always expect travelers to stop and have a cup of
tea with them, and feel that they have been slighted if this is not
done.  Here I found a widow named Newell, whom I knew, and her two or
three small children.  It was a miserable hut, without even the
ordinary comforts of the poorer coast cabins, only one side of the
earthen floor partially covered with rough boards, and the people
destitute of food.  Mrs. Newell told me that the other livyeres were
giving her what little they had to eat, and had saved them during the
winter from actual starvation.  I had some hardtack and tea in my
"grub bag," and these I left with her.

Two days later we pulled in at Rigolet and were greeted by my friend
Fraser.  It was almost like getting home again, for now I was on old,
familiar ground.  A good budget of letters that had come during the
previous summer awaited us and how eagerly we read them!  This was the
first communication we had received from our home folks since the
previous June and it was now February twenty-first.

We rested with Fraser until the twenty-third, and then with Mark
Pallesser, a Groswater Bay Eskimo, turned in to Northwest River where
Stanton, upon coming from the interior, had remained to wait for our
return that he might join us for the balance of the journey out.  The
going was fearful and snowshoeing in the heavy snow tiresome.  It
required two days to reach Mulligan, where we spent the night with
skipper Tom Blake, one of my good old friends, and at Tom's we feasted
on the first fresh venison we had had since leaving the Ungava
district.  In the whole distance from Whale River not a caribou had
been killed during the winter by any one, while in the previous winter
a single hunter at Davis Inlet shot in one day a hundred and fifty,
and only ceased then because he had no more ammunition.  Tom had
killed three or four, and south of this point I learned of a hunter
now and then getting one.

Northwest River was reached on Monday, February twenty-sixth, and we
took Cotter by complete surprise, for he had not expected us for
another month.

The day after our arrival Stanton came to the Post from a cabin three
miles above, where he had been living alone, and he was delighted to
see us.

The lumbermen at Muddy Lake, twenty miles away, heard of our arrival
and sent down a special messenger with a large addition to the mail
which I was carrying out and which had been growing steadily in bulk
with its accumulations at every station.

This is the stormiest season of the year in Labrador, and weather
conditions were such that it was not until March sixth that we were
permitted to resume our journey homeward.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE END OF THE LONG TRAIL

The storm left the ice covered with a depth of soft snow into which
the dogs sank deep and hauled the komatik with difficulty.
Snowshoeing, too, was unusually hard.  The day we left Northwest River
(Tuesday, March sixth) the temperature rose above the freezing point,
and when it froze that night a thin crust formed, through which our
snowshoes broke, adding very materially to the labor of walking--and
of course it was all walking.

As the days lengthened and the sun asserting his power, pushed higher
and higher above the horizon, the glare upon the white expanse of snow
dazzled our eyes, and we had to put on smoked glasses to protect
ourselves from snow-blindness.  Even with the glasses our driver,
Mark, became partially snow-blind, and when, on the evening of the
third day after leaving Northwest River, we reached his home at
Karwalla, an Eskimo settlement a few miles west of Rigolet, it became
necessary for us to halt until he was sufficiently recovered to enable
him to travel again.

Here we met some of the Eskimos that had been connected with the
Eskimo village at the World's Fair at Chicago, in 1893.  Mary, Mark's
wife, was one of the number.  She told me of having been exhibited as
far west as Portland, Oregon, and I asked:

"Mary, aren't you discontented here, after seeing so much of the
world?  Wouldn't you like to go back?"

"No, sir," she answered.  "'Tis fine here, where I has plenty of
company.  'Tis too lonesome in the States, sir."

"But you can't get the good things to eat here--the fruits and other
things," I insisted.

"I likes the oranges and apples fine, sir--but they has no seal meat
or deer's meat in the States."

It was not until Tuesday, March thirteenth, three days after our
arrival at Karwalla, that Mark thought himself quite able to proceed.
The brief "mild" gave place to intense cold and blustery, snowy
weather.  We pushed on toward West Bay, on the outer coast again, by
the "Backway," an arm of Hamilton Inlet that extends almost due east
from Karwalla.

At West Bay I secured fresh dogs to carry us on to Cartwright, which I
hoped to reach in one day more.  But the going was fearfully poor,
soft snow was drifted deep in the trail over Cape Porcupine, the ice
in Traymore was broken up by the gales, and this necessitated a long
detour, so it was nearly dark and snowing hard when we at last reached
the house of James Williams, at North River, just across Sandwich Bay
from Cartwright Post.  The greeting I received was so kindly that I
was not altogether disappointed at having to spend the night here.

"We've been expectin' you all winter, sir," said Mrs. Williams.  "When
you stopped two years ago you said you'd come some other time, and we
knew you would.  'Tis fine to see you again, sir."

On the afternoon of March seventeenth we reached Cartwright Post of
the Hudson's Bay Company, and my friend Mr. Ernest Swaffield, the
agent, and Mrs. Swaffield, who had been so kind to me on my former
trip, gave us a cordial welcome.  Here also I met Dr. Mumford, the
resident physician at Dr. Grenfell's mission hospital at Battle
Harbor, who was on a trip along the coast visiting the sick.

Another four days' delay was necessary at Cartwright before dogs could
be found to carry us on, but with Swaffield's aid I finally secured
teams and we resumed our journey, stopping at night at the native
cabins along the route.  Much bad weather was encountered to retard us
and I had difficulty now and again in securing dogs and drivers.  Many
of the men that I had on my previous trip, when I brought Hubbard's
body out to Battle Harbor, were absent hunting, but whenever I could
find them they invariably engaged with me again to help me a stage
upon the journey.

From Long Pond, near Seal Islands, neither I nor the men I had knew
the way (when I traveled down the coast on the former occasion my
drivers took a route outside of Long Pond), and that afternoon we went
astray, and with no one to set us right wandered about upon the ice
until long after dark, looking for a hut at Whale Bight, which was
finally located by the dogs smelling smoke and going to it.

A little beyond Whale Bight we came upon a bay that I recognized, and
from that point I knew the trail and headed directly to Williams'
Harbor, where I found John and James Russell, two of my old drivers,
ready to take us on to Battle Harbor.

At last, on the afternoon of March twenty-sixth we reached the
hospital, and how good it seemed to be back almost within touch of
civilization.  It was here that I ended that long and dreary sledge
journey with the last remains of dear old Hubbard, in the spring of
1904, and what a flood of recollections came to me as I stood in front
of the hospital and looked again across the ice of St. Lewis Inlet!
How well I remembered those weary days over there at Fox Harbor,
watching the broken, heaving ice that separated me from Battle Island;
the little boat that one day came into the ice and worked its way
slowly through it until it reached us and took us to the hospital and
the ship; and how thankful I felt that I had reached here with my
precious burden safe.

Mrs. Mumford made us most welcome, and entertained me in the doctor's
house, and was as good and kind as she could be.

I must again express my appreciation of the truly wonderful work that
Dr. Grenfell and his brave associates are carrying on amongst the
people of this dreary coast.  Year after year, they brave the
hardships and dangers of sea and fog and winter storms that they may
minister to the lowly and needy in the Master's name.  It is a saying
on the coast that "even the dogs know Dr. Grenfell," and it is
literally true, for his activities carry him everywhere and God knows
what would become of some of the people if he were not there to look
after them.  His practice extends over a larger territory than that of
any other physician in the world, but the only fee he ever collects is
the pleasure that comes with the knowledge of work well done.

At Battle Harbor I was told by a trader that it would be difficult, if
not impossible, to procure dogs to carry us up the Straits toward
Quebec, and I was strongly advised to end my snowshoe and dog journey
here and wait for a steamer that was expected to come in April to the
whaling station at Cape Charles, twelve miles away.  This seemed good
advice, for if we could get a steamer here within three weeks or so
that would take us to St. Johns we should reach home probably earlier
than we possibly could by going to Quebec.

There is a government coast telegraph line that follows the north
shore of the St. Lawrence from Quebec to Chateau Bay, but the nearest
office open at this time was at Red Bay, sixty-five miles from Battle
Harbor, and I determined to go there and get into communication with
home and at the same time telegraph to Bowring Brothers in St. Johns
and ascertain from them exactly when I might expect the whaling
steamer.

William Murphy offered to carry me over with his team, and, leaving
Stanton and Easton comfortably housed at Battle Harbor and both of
them quite content to end their dog traveling here, on the morning
after my arrival Murphy and I made an early start for Red Bay.

Except in the more sheltered places the bay ice had broken away along
the Straits and we had to follow the rough ice barricades, sometimes
working inland up and down the rocky hills and steep grades.  Before
noon we passed Henley Harbor and the Devil's Dining Table--a basaltic
rock formation--and a little later reached Chateau Bay and had dinner
in a native house.  Beyond this point there are cabins built at
intervals of a few miles as shelter for the linemen when making
repairs to the wire.  We passed one of these at Wreck Cove toward
evening, but as a storm was threatening, pushed on to the next one at
Green Bay, fifty-five miles from Battle Harbor.  It was dark before we
got there, and to reach the Bay we had to descend a steep hill.  I
shall never forget the ride down that hill.  It is very well to go
over places like that when you know the way and what you are likely to
bring up against, but I did not know the way and had to pin my faith
blindly on Murphy, who had taken me over rotten ice during the day---
ice that waved up and down with our weight and sometimes broke behind
us.  My opinion of him was that he was a reckless devil, and when we
began to descend that hill, five hundred feet to the bay ice, this
opinion was strengthened.  I would have said uncomplimentary things to
him had time permitted.  I expected anything to happen.  It looked in
the night as though a sheer precipice with a bottomless pit below was
in front of us.  Two drags were thrown over the komatik runners to
hold us back, but in spite of them we went like a shot out of a gun,
he on one side, I on the other, sticking our heels into the hard snow
as we extended our legs ahead, trying our best to hold back and stop
our wild progress.  But, much to my surprise, when we got there, and I
verily believe to Murphy's surprise also, we landed right side up at
the bottom, with no bones broken.  There were three men camped in the
shack here, and we spent the night with them.

Early the next day we reached Red Bay and the telegraph office.  There
are no words in the English language adequate to express my feelings
of gratification when I heard the instruments clicking off the
messages.  It had been seventeen years since I had handled a telegraph
key--when I was a railroad telegrapher down in New England--and how I
fondled that key, and what music the click of the sounder was to my
ears!

My messages were soon sent, and then I sat down to wait for the
replies.

The office was in the house of Thomas Moors, and he was good enough to
invite me to stop with him while in Red Bay.  His daughter was the
telegraph operator.

The next day the answers to my telegrams came, and many messages from
friends, and one from Bowring & Company stating that no steamer would
be sent to Cape Charles.  I had been making inquiries here, however,
in the meantime, and learned that it was quite possible to secure dogs
and continue the journey up the north shore, so I was not greatly
disappointed.  I dispatched Murphy at once to Battle Harbor to bring
on the other men, waiting myself at Red Bay for their coming, and
holding teams in readiness for an immediate departure when they should
arrive.

They drove in at two o'clock on April fourth, and we left at once.  On
the morning of the sixth we passed through Blanc Sablon, the boundary
line between Newfoundland and Canadian territory, and here I left the
Newfoundland letters from my mail bag.  From this point the majority
of the natives are Acadians, and speak only French.

At Brador Bay I stopped to telegraph.  No operator was there, so I
sent the message myself, left the money on the desk and proceeded.

Three days more took us to St. Augustine Post of the Hudson's Bay
Company, where we arrived in the morning and accepted the hospitality
of Burgess, the Agent.

Our old friends the Indians whom we met on our inland trip at
Northwest River were here, and John, who had eaten supper with us at
our camp on the hill on the first portage, expressed great pleasure at
meeting us, and had many questions to ask about the country.  They had
failed in their deer hunt, and had come out half starved a week or so
before, from the interior.

We did fifty miles on the eleventh, changing dogs at Harrington at
noon and running on to Sealnet Cove that night.  Here we found more
Indians who had just emerged from the interior, driven to the coast
for food like those at St. Augustine as the result of their failure to
find caribou.

Two days later we reached the Post at Romain, and on the afternoon of
April seventeenth reached Natashquan and open water.  Here I engaged
passage on a small schooner--the first afloat in the St. Lawrence--to
take us on to Eskimo Point, seventy miles farther, where the Quebec
steamer, _King Edward_, was expected to arrive in a week or so.  That
night we boarded the schooner and sailed at once.  Into the sea I
threw the clothes I had been wearing, and donned fresh ones.  What a
relief it was to be clear of the innumerable horde "o' wee sma'
beasties" that had been my close companions all the way down from the
Eskimo igloos in the North.  I have wondered many times since whether
those clothes swam ashore, and if they did what happened to them.

It was a great pleasure to be upon the water again, and see the shore
slip past, and feel that no more snowstorms, no more bitter northern
blasts, no more hungry days and nights were to be faced.

Since June twenty-fifth, the day we dipped our paddles into the water
of Northwest River and turned northward into the wastes of the great
unknown wilderness, eight hundred miles had been traversed in reaching
Fort Chimo, and on our return journey with dogs and komatik and
snowshoes, two thousand more.

We reached Eskimo Point on April twentieth, and that very day a rain
began that turned the world into a sea of slush.  I was glad indeed
that our komatik work was finished, for it would now have been very
difficult, if not impossible, to travel farther with dogs.

I at once deposited in the post office the bag of letters that I had
carried all the way from far-off Ungava.  This was the first mail that
any single messenger had ever carried by dog train from that distant
point, and I felt quite puffed up with the honor of it.

The week that we waited here for the _King Edward_ was a dismal one,
and when the ship finally arrived we lost no time in getting ourselves
and our belongings aboard.  It was a mighty satisfaction to feel the
pulse of the engines that with every revolution took us nearer home,
and when at last we tied up at the steamer's wharf in Quebec, I heaved
a sigh of relief.

On April thirtieth, after an absence of just eleven months, we found
ourselves again in the whirl and racket of New York.  The portages and
rapids and camp fires, the Indian wigwams and Eskimo igloos and the
great, silent white world of the North that we had so recently left
were now only memories.  We had reached the end of The Long Trail.
The work of exploration begun by Hubbard was finished.



APPENDIX

LABRADOR PLANTS

Specimens collected along the route of the expedition between
Northwest River and Lake Michikamau.  Determined at the New York
Botanical Gardens:

Ledum groonlandicum, Oeder.
Comarum palustre L.
Rubus arcticus L.
Solidago multiradiata.  Ait.
Sanguisorba Canadensis L.
Linnaea Americana, Forbes.
Dasiphora fruticosa (L), Rydb.
Chamnaerion latifolium (L), Sweet.
Viburnum pancifloram, Pylaim.
Viscaxia alpina (L), Roehl.
Menyanthes trifoliata L.
Vaznera trifolia (L), Morong.
Ledum prostratum, Rotlb.
Betula glandulosa, Michx.
Kalmia angustifolia.
Aronia nigra (Willd), Britt.
Comus Canadensis L.
Arenaria groenlandica (Retz), Spreng.
Barbarea stricta, Audry.
Eriophorum russeolum, Fries.
Eriophorum polystachyon L.
Phegopteris Phegopt@ (L), Fee.

LICHENS

Cladonia deformis (L), Hoffen.
Alectoria dehrolenea (Ehrh.), Nyl.
Umbilicaria Neuhlenbergii (Ac L.), Tuck.

GEOLOGICAL NOTES
By G. M. Richards
All bearings given, refer to the true meridian.

My sincere thanks are due Prof.  J.F. Kemp and Dr.
C.P. Berkey, whose generous assistance has made this work possible.

ROUTE FOLLOWED

The route was by steamer to the head of Hamilton Inlet, Labrador--
thence by canoes up Grand Lake and the Nascaupee River.  Fifteen miles
above Grand Lake, a portage route was followed which makes a long
detour through a series of lakes to avoid rapids in the river.  This
trail again returns to the Nascaupee River at Seal Lake and for some
fifty miles above Seal Lake, follows the river.  It then leaves the
Nascaupee, making a second long detour through lakes to the north.  On
one of these lakes (Bibiquasin Lake) the trail was lost, and
thereafter we traveled in a westerly direction until reaching Lake
Michikamau.

Our food supply was then in so depleted a condition the party was
obliged to separate, three of us returning to Northwest River.

It will be understood that the circumstances would allow of but a very
limited examination of the geological features of the country.  Only
typical rock specimens, or those whose character was at all doubtful
were brought back.

PREVIOUS EXPLORATION

Mr. A.P. Low penetrated to Lake Michikamau, by way of the Grand River.
He has thoroughly described the lake in his report to the Canadian
Geological Survey, 1895, and it is not touched upon in the following
paper.  In the summer of 1903, an expedition led by Leonidas Hubbard,
Jr., attempted to reach Lake Michikamau by ascending the Nascaupee
River; they, however, missed the mouth of that stream on Grand Lake
and followed the Susan River instead, pursuing a northwesterly course
for two months without reaching the lake.  On the return journey, Mr.
Hubbard died of starvation, his two companions, Mr. Wallace and a
half-breed Indian, barely escaping a similar fate.

GEOGRAPHICAL RESULTS OF THE EXPEDITION

The Northwest River represented on the map of the Canadian Geological
Survey (made from information obtained from the Indians) as draining
Lake Michikamau, is but three and one-half miles long, and connects
Grand Lake with Hamilton Inlet.  There are six streams flowing into
Grand Lake, instead of only one.  It is the Nascaupee River that flows
from Lake Michikamau to Grand Lake; and Seal Lake instead of being the
source of the Nascaupee River is merely an expansion of it.

The source of the Crooked River was also discovered and mapped, as
well as a great number of smaller lakes.

On the Northern Slope the George and Koroksoak Rivers and several
lakes were mapped, and some smaller rivers located.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ROUTE EXPLORED

Northwest River which flows into a small sandy bay at the head of
Hamilton Inlet is only three and one-half miles long and drains Grand
Lake.

For one-quarter of a mile above its mouth the river maintains an
average width of one hundred and fifty yards, and a depth of two and
one-half fathoms.  It then expands into a shallow sheet of water two
miles wide and three miles long, known locally as "The Little Lake."
At the head of this small expansion the river again contracts where it
flows out of Grand Lake.  This point is known as "The Rapids," and
although there is a strong current, the stream may be ascended in
canoes without tracking.

At the foot of "The Rapids" the effect of the spring tides is barely
perceptible.  Between Grand Lake and the head of Hamilton Inlet,
Northwest River flows through a deposit of sand marked by several
distinct marine terraces.

Grand Lake is a body of fresh water forty miles long and from two to
six miles in width, having a direction N. 75 degrees W.  It lies in a
deep valley between rocky hills that rise to a height of about four
hundred feet above the lake, and was doubtless at one time an
extension of Hamilton Inlet.  At Cape Corbeau and Berry Head the rocks
rise almost perpendicularly from the water; at the former place, to a
height of three hundred feet.  Except in a few places the hills are
covered to their summits by a thick growth of small spruce and fir.

At the head of the lake there are two bays, one extending slightly to
the southwest, the other nearly due north.  Into the former flow the
Susan and Beaver Rivers, while into the latter empties the water of
the Nascaupee and Crooked Rivers.  Besides these there are two small
streams, the Cape Corbeau River on the south, and Watty's Brook on the
north shore.

At the point where the Nascaupee and Crooked Rivers enter the lake
there are two low islands of sand, and a great deal of sand is being
carried down by the two streams and deposited in the lake, which is
very shallow for some distance from the shore.

Three miles above the mouth of the Nascaupee River it is separated
from the Crooked River by a plain of stratified sand and gravel,
three-quarters of a mile wide, with two well-defined terraces.  The
first is twenty feet above the river and extends back some three
hundred yards to a second terrace, rising seventy-five feet above the
first.

Half way between this terrace and the Crooked River is, the old bed of
the Nascaupee River, nearly parallel to its present course.  A similar
abandoned channel curve was found, making a small arc to the south of
the Crooked River.

Above Grand Lake the Nascaupee River flows through an ancient valley,
which is from a few hundred yards to a mile wide and cut deep into the
old Archaean rocks, affording an excellent example of river erosion.
The banks are of sand, and in some places clay, extending back to the
foot of the precipitous hills.  Apparently the ancient river valley
has been partly filled with drift, down through which the river has
cut its way; the present bed of the stream being of post glacial
formation.  The general direction of the river is N. 83 degrees W.

Fifteen miles above Grand Lake, the Red River joins the main stream,
coming from N. 87 degrees W. Below its junction with the latter
stream, the Nascaupee River has a width varying between two and three
hundred yards, and an average depth of about ten feet.

The Red River is two hundred feet wide, and its water, unlike that of
the main stream, has a red brown color, like that of many of the
streams of Ontario which have their source in swamp or Muskeg lands.

The first rapids in the Red River are said to be eight miles above its
mouth.  Directly opposite the junction of the two streams the portage
leaves the Nascaupee River.  The direction is N. 24 degrees E. and the
distance five and one-half miles, with an elevation of 1050 feet above
the river at the end of the second mile.

The last three and one-half miles lead across a level tableland, to a
small lake, from which the trail descends through two lakes into a
shallow valley.

The entire country from the head of Grand Lake to this point has been
devastated by fire, only a few trees near the water having escaped
destruction, and the ground, except in a few places, is destitute even
of its usual covering of reindeer moss.

The underlying rock is gneiss, and the country from the Nascaupee
River is thickly strewn with huge glacial bowlders.

The majority of these bowlders have been derived from the immediate
vicinity, but many consisting of a coarse pegmatite carrying
considerable quantities of ilmenite were observed.  None of this rock
was seen in place.

The valley last mentioned is separated from the Crooked River by
Caribou Ridge, a broad, flat-topped elevation, three hundred and fifty
feet high, dotted by small lakes, which fill almost every appreciable
depression in the rock.

The general course to the Crooked River is northeast; at the point
where the portage reaches it the stream is fifty yards wide and very
shallow; flowing over a bed of coarse drift, which obstructs the
river, forming a series of small lake expansions with rapids at the
outlet of each.   Between Grand Lake and the point where we reached
the river, the Indians say it is not navigable in canoes, owing to
rapids.

The Crooked River has its source in Lake Nipishish, which is about
twenty-two miles long, with an average width of three miles, and a
course due north.  Six miles above the outlet of the lake is a bay,
five miles long, extending N. 80 degrees W.

Along the north shore of the lake and in the bay are several small
islands of drift, and many huge angular bowlders projecting above the
water.  The country in the vicinity of the lake and in the valley of
the Crooked River is covered with mounds and ridges of drift and many
small moraines.

These moraines consisting of bowlders for the most part from the
immediate vicinity, seemed to have no given direction, but were
usually found at the ends of, and in a transverse direction to the
ridges.

The trail leaves Lake Nipishish near the head of the large bay,
continuing in a direction between north and northwest, through several
insignificant lakes, all drained indirectly by the Crooked River,
until it reached Otter Lake, which is eight miles long, running nearly
north and south, and is five hundred and fifty feet below the summits
of the surrounding hills.

From Otter Lake, the course is west through five diminutive lakes, and
across a series of sandy ridges to a small shallow lake, which is the
source of Babewendigash River.  Between this lake and Seal Lake
intervene a high range of mountains--the highest seen on the journey
to Lake Michikamau--rising fully one thousand feet above the level of
Seal Lake.  They are visible for miles in any direction, and were seen
from Caribou Ridge nearly a month before we reached them.

They are glaciated to their summits, which are entirely destitute of
vegetation and in August were still, in places, covered with snow.
Babewendigash River winds to and fro between the mountains, its course
being determined to a great extent by esker ridges that follow it on
either side and which are often more than one hundred feet high.
Throughout its length of twenty-five miles there are five rapids and
three small lake expansions.

Seal Lake, into which the river flows, is in part an expansion of the
Nascaupee River and fills a basin surrounded on every side by
mountains, rising several hundred feet above the water.  The lake is
comparatively shallow, and has a perceptible current.  There are
several small islands of drift, covered by a scanty growth of spruce
and willow.  The main lake has direction N. 45 degrees W., and is ten
miles long and two and one-half miles wide.  The northwestern arm is
fifteen miles long, with the same width, and a course N. 80 degrees W.

The steep rocky shores have precluded the formation of terraces.
Above Seal Lake the course of the Nascaupee River varies between N. 40
degrees W. and N. 80 degrees W.

Five miles above the lake there is an expansion of the river, called
Wuchusk Nipi, or Muskrat Lake, which is eight miles long and a mile
and a half wide, with a course N. 40 degrees W. Except for a channel
along the western shore, the lake is very shallow, being nearly filled
with sand carried down by the river.  There is a small stream flowing
into this lake expansion near its head, called Wuchusk Nipishish.

For fifty miles above Muskrat Lake, the river flows between sandy
banks, marked on either side by two well-defined terraces.  The river
valley gradually becomes more narrow and the current stronger and with
the exception of a few small expansions, progress is only possible by
means of tracking.  There are, however, in this distance but two
rapids necessitating portages.

Opposite the point where the portage leaves the Nascaupee to make a
second long detour around rapids, a small river flows in from the
southwest, having a sheer fall of almost fifty feet, just above its
junction with the main stream.

The trail, after leaving the river, has a course N. 35 degrees W. for
two miles; it then turns N. 85 degrees W. six miles, and again N. 55
degrees W. four miles.

In its course are four small lakes, but there is an unbroken portage
of eight miles between the last two.  Nearly the whole country has
been denuded by fire, and the prospect is desolate in the extreme.
The end of the portage is on the high rolling plateau of the interior,
timbered by a sparse and stunted second growth of spruce, covered
everywhere with white reindeer moss, and strewn with lakes
innumerable.

The trail which runs N. 50 degrees W. and has not been used for eight
years, gradually became more and more indistinct, until on Bibiquasin
Lake it disappeared entirely.  Thereafter the course was N. 70 degrees
W., and finally due west, through a series of lakes which at last
brought us to Lake Michikamau.  The largest of this series is
Kasheshebogamog Lake, a sheet of water twenty-three miles long, but
broken by numerous bays and countless islands of drift, with a
direction S. 75 degrees W. The lake is confined between long bowlder-
covered ridges, and is fed at its western end by a small stream.

Although its outlet was not discovered, it doubtless drains into the
Nascaupee River.

On the return journey an attempt was made to descend the Nascaupee
River below Seal Lake.

The river leaves the lake at its southeastern extremity, flowing
between hills that rise almost straight from the waters edge, and is
one long continuation of heavy rapids.  After following the stream for
two days we were obliged to retrace our steps to Seal Lake, thereafter
keeping to the course pursued on the inland journey.

DETAILS OF ROCK EXPOSURE

The numbers following the names of rocks refer to corresponding
numbers in appendix.

Of the rocks observed, by far the greater number are foliated basic
eruptives,--schists and gneisses.  There are, however, some that are
of undoubted sedimentary origin, but highly metamorphosed.

The general direction of foliation is a few degrees south of east,
subject, of course, to many local changes.

Along Grand Lake the rock is a compact amphibolite [3] with a strike
S. 78 degrees E. cut by numerous pegmatite dikes, having a strike N.
30 degrees W. and a dip 79 degrees W.. These dikes vary in width from
three to twenty feet.  Half way to the head of the lake is a dike [1]
having a total width of eight feet, consisting of a central band of
segregated quartz, six feet wide, cut by numerous thin sheets of
biotite, which probably mark the planes of shearing.  The quartz is
bordered on either side by a band of orthoclase,' one foot in width.
Between these bands of orthoclase and the neighboring amphibolite are
narrow bands of schist [2]

One hundred feet south of the above point is a second dike having a
similar strike and dip and a width of eighteen feet.  A third narrow
dike, containing small pockets of magnetite, is twenty-five feet south
of the second.  Only the first is distinguished by the segregation of
the quartz.

The next outcrop observed was on the portage from the Nascaupee River.
The rock, a biotite granite gneiss [4] having a strike N. 82 degrees
E. is much weathered and split by the action of the frost, and marked
by pockets of quartz, usually four or five inches in width.

Between this point and Lake Nipishish the underlying rock differs only
in being more extremely crushed and foliated.  The one exception is on
Caribou Ridge, which is capped by a much altered gabbro. [6]

The first noticeable change in the character of the country rock is a
Washkagama Lake, where a fine grained epidotic schist [7] was
observed, having a dip 82 degrees W. and a strike S. 78 degrees E.

At Otter Lake a much foliated and weathered phyllite [8] was found.
Strike N. 73 degrees E. and a dip of 16 degrees.

On the Babewendigash River seven miles east of Seal Lake is an
exposure of highly metamorphosed ancient sedimentary rocks.  The
outcrop occurs at a height of four hundred feet above the river; and
there is a well-marked stratification.

The lowest bed of a calcarous sericitic schist [9] is four feet thick
and underlies a bed of schistose lime stone [10] six feet in
thickness, which is in turn covered by a finely laminated phyllite,
[11] ten feet thick.  The whole is capped by thirty feet of quartzite,
[12] which forms the top of a long ridge.

Owing to the strong weathering action this thickness of quartzite is
doubtless much less than it was originally.

Forty-six miles above Seal Lake an exposure of phyllite was seen, the
same in every respect as the one east of Seal Lake, just mentioned.

The general direction of foliation is S. 70 degrees E. and the dip 70
degrees.  The higher hills west of Seal Lake are capped by a much
altered gabbro [13] that has undergone considerable weathering.

Between the Nascaupee River and a few miles beyond Bibiquasin Lake the
rock is quartzite, [14] considerably weathered and covered by drift.
Bowlders of this quartzite were seen along the Nascaupee River long
before the first outcrop was reached, showing the general direction of
the glacial movement to have been to the southeast.  From Bibiquasin
Lake to Lake Kasheshebogamog the country is covered with much drift;
the only exposures are on the steep hillsides.  The rock being a
coarse hornblende granite.

The western end of Kasheshebogamog Lake lies within the limit of the
anorthosite [15] area, which extends from that point to Lake
Michikamau, a direct distance of twenty miles and was the only
anorthosite observed on the journey.

GLACIAL STRIAE

First portage opposite Red River            S. 45 degrees E.
On Caribou Ridge                            E.
At Washkagama Lake                          S. 70 degrees E.
Near Seal Lake                              N. 85 degrees E.
At Wuchusk Nipi                             S. 75 degrees E.
Thirty-two miles above Wuchusk Nipi         S. 70 degrees E.

MICROSCOPICAL FEATURES OF THE ROCK SPECIMENS

By G. M. Richards, Columbia University
1--Pegmatite-Grand Lake.
The specimen was taken from a pegmatite dike at its contact with an
amphibolite.  In the hand specimen it is an apparently pure orthoclase
but in the thin section small scattered quartz grains are observed; as
well as the alteration products, Kaolin and sericite.

The minerals at contact are quartz, biotite, magnetite and hornblende.

Both the quartz and orthoclase contain dust inclusions and
crystallites, while the evidences of shearing and crushing are
abundant.

2-Quartz Biotite Schist.

Contact between above dike and amphibolite.  A coarse black rock
carrying magnetite and pyrites in considerable quantities.

Under the microscope some of the biotite has a green coloration from
decomposition and is surrounded by strong pleochroic halos.

Small grains of secondary pyroxene are numerous.

AMPHIBOLITE

3-Grand Lake.

A dark, compact rock, having a mottled appearance due to grains of
plagioclase, and a green color in section.

Minerals present are hornblende, biotite, plagioclase, pyroxene,
quartz and the alteration products from the feldspar.

The rock has been subjected to a strong crushing action, which has
been resisted by only small portions of it.  The spaces between the
grains, which are intact, are filled with a confused mass of
peripherally granulated minerals, in which strain shadows are very
prominent.

The rock has been derived by dynamic metamorphism from a basic igneous
rock.

4-Biotite Granite Gneiss.

Eighteen miles above mouth of Nascaupee River.  A fine-grained rock of
gneissic structure having a faint pink color.

Plagioclase, microcline and quartz are the predominating minerals,
while biotite, titanite, epidote, apatite, zircon and garnet are
present in smaller quantities.

There is also a small amount of hematite, pyroxene and sericite.

The rock, which is of a granitic composition, contains numerous
crystallites and has been subjected to considerable strain and
crushing, which has resulted in foliation.

5-Mica Granite Gneiss--Country Rock--near Caribou Ridge.

In the hand specimen the rock has the same appearance as No. 4, if
anything, it is somewhat more compact.

The principal minerals are, plagioclase, biotite and microcline, with
smaller quantities of quartz, iron oxide, pyroxene and garnet.

The feldspar is decomposed with the resulting formation of epidote,
which is quite prominent.  There are also numerous included crystals.

The rock has been greatly crushed and sheared, and is much finer than
No. 4.

6--Cap of Caribou Ridge.

A hard compact rock of dark green color, having a mottled appearance,
due to the presence of a white mineral.

Pyroxene, quartz and augite form the groundmass, as seen in section.
There are a few small grains of magnetite,

The severe crushing to which the rock has been subjected has resulted
in the conversion of the plagioclase into scapolite and also in the
formation of zoisite by the characteristic alteration of the lime
bearing silicate of the feldspar in conjunction with other
constituents of the rock.

The light mineral is finely granulated and the whole is marked by
uneven extinction.

The rock has probably been derived by dynamic metamorphism, from a
coarse igneous rock like a gabbro.

7--Epidotic Sericitic Schist.  Washkagama Lake.

A fine grained compact gray rock, of aggregate structure, consisting
chiefly of quartz, plagioclase and biotite, and the alteration
products epidote and sericite.

Under the microscope it is a confused mass of finely granulated
minerals, with numerous included crystals.

The rock has undergone complete metamorphism and its origin is
unknown.

8--Phyllite-Near Otter Lake.

A soft extremely fine grained gray rock, with a well developed
schistose structure, carrying much magnetite, plagioclase, orthoclase
and their alteration products.

The strain to which the rock has been subjected has resulted in a very
fine lamination, and it is _considerably weathered_.

9--Calcarous Sericite Schist.--Seven Miles East of Seal Lake.

A dark compact rock, in which calcite and sericite predominate.
Quartz is less plentiful.  The results of shearing and pressure are
very prominent and bring out the foliation, even in the calcite.

10--Schistose Limestone--Same location as No. 9.

A white rock having a peculiar mottled appearance due to the
inclusions of decomposing biotite which project from the surrounding
mass of calcite.  There is some sericite present, also magnetite,
resulting from the decomposition of the biotite.

The bent and metamorphosed condition of the calcite shows the shearing
and crushing which the rock has undergone.

11--Phyllite--same location as No. 9.

A dark red, finely laminated rock consisting chiefly of decomposed
biotite and feldspar, occasional quartz grains and sericite and much
iron oxide.

The rock has been subjected to strong shearing force, producing a good
example of schistose structure.

12--Quartzite--Same location as No. 9.

A compact rock of light red color, made up of uniformly rounded grains
of quartz, and the feldspar with occasional grain of magnetite.

A fine siliceous material discolored by iron oxide, acts as a cement
between the grains.

The quartz grains show secondary growth.
13--Altered Gabbro--Thirty-two Miles Above Wuchusk Nipi on Nascaupee
River.

A coarse dark green rock whose principal constituents are pyroxene
plagioclase and magnetite.

There is a slightly developed diabasic structure and the rock is much
altered by weathering; the resultant product being chlorite.

14--Quartizite--Bibiquagin Lake.

Hard compact rock of light red color, cut in all directions by narrow
veins of quartz, from microscope size to one-half an inch in width.

The grains of the constituent minerals, quartz, feldspar and magnetite
have an angular brecciated appearance; showing uneven extinction and
strong crushing effects.

The magnetite is somewhat decomposed, the resulting hematite filling
the spaces between the quartz grains.

15--Anorthosite--Shore of Lake Michikamau.

A coarse grained rock of dark gray color, in which labradorite is the
chief mineral.  Magnetite and Kaolin are present in small quantities.

The labradorite contains inclusions of rutile and biotite and has a
well-developed wedge structure and cross fracture due to the pressure
and shearing which it has undergone.

It is also somewhat stained by the decomposition of the magnetite.


SOURCES OF INFORMATION

On the map of the portage route to Lake Michikamau; that lake, the
Grand River and Groswater Bay are taken from the map accompanying the
report of Mr. A. P. Low.

The location of the Susan and Beaver Rivers with their tributaries was
obtained from Dillon Wallace's map in "The Lure of the Labrador Wild."

The instruments used were a Brunton Pocket Transit, a small taffrail
log and an Aneroid Barometer.  Distances on land were approximated by
means of a pedometer and by rough triangulation.




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